This is a late review. Ever since the Great Gatsby film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan was released in 2013, I have been meaning to read it but I decided for not to read it because I’m not really a classics reader, so I didn’t think it was for me. But then my friend actually brought me the book as a gift, so it gave me the opportunity to finally read it.
This is probably my favourite line in the book and also a fantastic opening paragraph. (I have this obsession with amazing opening paragraphs.)
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby explores many themes such as decadence and idealism. The narrator and main character is Nick Carraway, a Yale Graduate. The story is set in West Egg on Long Island, New York. It centers on a mysterious millionaire called Jay Gatsby who holds the biggest exclusive parties at his mansion and has an obsession with Daisy Buchanan.
After I finished reading, I honestly had nothing to say about it. I was a bit lost for words. It was very much an okay kind of story. Maybe I need to read it again to fully appreciate it. So far the only positive thing I can say about it is that the way it is written visualizes the decline of the American Dream, the Jazz Age and what is was like going to reckless parties in the 1920s. I like the 1920s era, mainly because of the legendary Gabrielle Coco Chanel. The style is truly iconic with the flapper dresses and the vintage headpieces. I give Fitzgerald props for the writing because it is good but not so much the characters.
Sometimes I think characters are written in a way to be disliked rather than liked. I felt no attachment to these characters, nor did I feel any sympathy. I think Fitzgerald probably did write it this way on purpose to show symbolism of the story. It seemed like it was the era based on wealth, greed and decadence parties. It was quite sad that Gatsby had to be wealthy in order to impress Daisy because Daisy is wealthy and Gatsby was not when they met five years ago. There is a lot of meaningful symbolism.
My only criticism is that at one point in the story, Nick just talked and talked and talked about people. Did I care about these people that Nick went on about? No I did not. This is a short book but that was a drag for me to get through. It was more telling me than showing me. Overall, it wasn’t a bad story but not my favourite. I watched the film and I really liked the scene and setting, it fitted the 1920s theme perfectly well. I didn’t like the story much but it was a good interpretation of the novel.