Thoughts About “The Great Gatsby”

400px-Gatsby_1925_jacket

This review contains no spoilers!

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I would like to write fewer bookish posts and instead concentrate on reviews. Well, this is a review. Kind of. It’s just a less formal one, because I didn’t want to go on and on about the plot and characters and all the things I usually talk about in a review. So this post doesn’t follow a particular format. It’s just a collection of thoughts I had while reading The Great Gatsby.

It’s possible to read a classic spoiler-free.

I thought this didn’t happen, certainly not to me. Such books have been around for ages and many people are required to read them for school, so they toss spoilers around left and right. I can’t blame them – these books aren’t exactly the latest thing. But it does mean that I’ve known intricate plot details of many classics before I read them.

It wasn’t quite that way with The Great Gatsby, though.  I knew that bad stuff happened at the end, and suspected that might come about due to a death, and had a hazy idea that the death had something to do with a swimming pool.

But I was unsure about the rest of it and enjoyed all the unexpected twists and turns. Daisy and Gatsby? Myrtle and the yellow car? Gatz? I didn’t know about any of it, and loved every minute of it.

(And in the paragraph above, I was trying to be as vague as possible to be nice to those who haven’t read it. I hope it worked.)

The cover is fantastic.

Nothing I write could possibly do justice to the art, so I’ll just direct your attention up above. Look at that cover. Wow.

Classics can be short!

No, it’s not “Well, duh.” The classics I’ve been assigned to read for school have all been long. But…

Short books cannot always be read quickly.

Because of the ideas contained inside, you see. I feel like I talk about The Giver too much on this blog, but I’ll do it again because it proves my point – The Giver and The Great Gatsby are about the same length (one hundred and eightyish pages) but absolutely stuffed with things that make you think.

And so I did. I thought about what Nick wanted out of life, and what Gatsby had done to go further, and why Daisy wouldn’t just leave. I thought I’d finish The Great Gatsby in an hour but I took closer to four. As I read it I pondered why, when analyzing this stuff is required for my schoolwork, I hate it. It doesn’t really make much sense. I guess I feel like those assignments demand a specific answer and I can’t always write down my own interpretation.

And there’s another reason it took me a while to read this book.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s style of writing is beautiful.

No, it’s better than that. IT IS SO GORGEOUS. Oh, I spent plenty of time thinking about the Deep Themes and Big Ideas of this book, but I also reread multiple passages several times, trying to learn how he did it. How he wrote so wonderfully. Just one of my favorite parts is, “At 158th Street the cab stopped at one slice in a long white cake of apartment-houses.” This is the sort of imagery I would love to create. I spent most of the book being envious of Fitzgerald’s talent.

If you’ve read The Great Gatsby, what did you think? And what was your opinion of the movie?

-~-

If you’re interested, a good post about The Great Gatsby as a film (and the success of adaptations in general) can be found here. It makes much more sense now that I’ve actually read the book. Go figure!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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13 Responses to Thoughts About “The Great Gatsby”

  1. FSF’s writing style is incredible and I think just for the way he spins prose he’s one of my favourite writers. I loved the character of Gatsby too–precious misguided idealist metaphor that he is. I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Have you read anything else by him? *would like to try something else but isn’t sure where to start*

      • His short stories are good, so try ‘Tales of the Jazz Age’. Mostly because they’re short, like Gatsby, and don’t tend to drag on like, say, ‘The Beautiful and Damned’ can, which is also written wonderfully but is more social commentary than plot 🙂

  2. Lydia says:

    I love F. Scott Fitzgerald. His short stories are my favorite. Also, I love that cover. I have it on a t-shirt, actually. Wearing it right now! Best Christmas present ever.

  3. I pretty much had the same thoughts when reading! I’ve actually read the book multiple times, because the first time around I felt like I glazed over the significant stuff and didn’t get as much out of it as I could. There’s so many insightful metaphors that are sprinkled throughout and I love how the book is so enjoyable, even though it kind of has a terrible and ending. And yes, GORGEOUS is the perfect word to describe Fitzgerald’s writing. I often strive for the same beautiful efficiency he wrote with.

  4. July says:

    Wait a second, Gatsby dies??? :O
    I’ve always wanted to read this, but the size I *thought* it was had been holding me back! Now that I know it’s only 180ish pages long, I’ll definitely be finding it at the library or something.

  5. I’ve heard about this book, and I think I’d better go put it on my ‘to read’ list… which is just in my mind, so hopefully I won’t forget about it. Hehe.

  6. Pingback: A Sky Full Of Stars – Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 | Musings From Neville's Navel

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