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This Side of Paradise

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  32,768 ratings  ·  1,985 reviews

This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald's romantic and witty first novel, was written when the author was only twenty-three years old. This semiautobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame. Now, readers can enjoy the newly edited, authorized version of th
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 14th 1998 by Scribner (first published 1920)
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Les Misérables by Victor HugoWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraUlysses by James Joyce
The Great Classics You Have Not Read Yet
67th out of 514 books — 1,079 voters
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. MilneAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Best Books of the Decade: 1920's
20th out of 295 books — 530 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu

What I thought while reading:


"Oh look at me, I'm F. Scott Fitzgerald and I was rich and I wrote about rich people blah blah blah...," is totally what Fitzgerald once said.


*************************************************

What I thought after reading:


"F. Scott Fitzgerald?!....THIS is your life!" *smiling, tuxedoed host holds up a copy of This Side of Paradise*

"Oh my, really? This is all about me? Well, it couldn't have happened to a more handsome, intelligent, all-around good guy!"


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oriana
after reading: Meh. Meh, meh, meh. See, this is the problem with re-reading books that shine so bright in your memory — sometimes they just don't live up. I mean, there's really no reason I shouldn't have loved this book. It's filled with philosophical musings and snappy, flirty dialogue; it's pleasantly disjointed, very slice-of-life-y; it's definitely full of verve and probably powerful ideas.... but I just couldn't get into it. I was in fact very impatient throughout. I found Amory Blaine to ...more
David Fleming
So how is it that this novel, despite it’s shortcomings, was still able to be successful? Ask any New York agent to represent your literary novel with a male protagonist and he'll tell you: “Literary novel’s with a male protagonist are hard sells.” And they are. Think about it: How many literary novels with male protagonists have you enjoyed in the last, say, five years? Probably zero. The key to the success of This Side of Paradise is in Fitzgerald’s mastery of the Male Protagonist in a Literar ...more
Lee
Of all the writing by writers in their early 20s I've read (and written), this book is down the street and around the corner from most. I wish I'd read about the Romantic Egotist before I wrote a book called Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World that also takes place in the Princeton area. (I loved when Amory Blaine biked at night with a friend from P'ton to my hometown.) Fitzgerald writes sharp, swervy, gorgeous, clever sentences, pretty much always with his eyes on the socio-existenti ...more
Matt
I’ve always thought that English teachers need to take a lesson from drug dealers: hook kids while they’re young with good product. In this analogy, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is pure, high-grade cocaine, given away at the nearest street corner. It is an acknowledged classic, always in the running for “the Great American Novel.” It is accessible, with prose that is simple yet beautiful. The story is straightforward and relatable and as reductive as a boy trying to impress – and win o ...more
Kim

When published in March 1920, this - Fitzgerald's first novel - was an immediate critical and popular success. It led to success for Fitzgerald in another way too, because when it was accepted for publication Zelda Sayre, who had ended her relationship with Fitzgerald the previous year, agreed to marry him. After the first print run sold out within three days of publication, Fitzgerald wired for Zelda to come to New York City to marry him that weekend. She agreed and they married a week after th
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Jared Logan
The Great Gatsby is colossal. It's one of those books from your high school reading list that you probably still like. I do. I love Gatsby. When I saw the Baz Luhrman movie was coming out I remembered that I once promised myself I would read all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels. This Side of Paradise is his first novel, published in 1920.

It's not a good book, but it's a sincere book. It's an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink book. You can tell young F. Scott Fitzgerald put EVERYTHING HE HAD into th
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Adrianne Mathiowetz
Someone needed to tell F. Scott Fitzgerald to stop writing poetry and including it in this book as the work of his characters. You have to read it, because it's freaking F. Scott Fitzgerald and you don't skim the man's work, but honestly this was insufferable.

There were passages in this book that I loved, and parts that I couldn't put down: but overall the work seemed uneven. The plot structure wasn't really there. The whole focus of the book is simply one character's development as a person fr
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Kirk
A very flawed novel but one much adored in its day---in fact, Paradise was FSF's best known work during his lifetime (not Gatsby). Inevitably, biographers pun on it: THE FAR SIDE OF PARADISE, EXILES FROM PARADISE, CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE---okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the point.

What's most interesting about TSOP (as we in the Fitz biz call it) is the new type of Bildungsroman it established. Unlike Victorian coming-of-age novels (think Dickens), Amory Blaine's story avoids easy re
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Tom
There's no denying that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a gifted writer, even in the beginning.

A lot of his problems lay in the thinly-veiled autobiographical nature of his novels.

In "This Side of Paradise," the protagonist--he certainly never does anything heroic--is Amory Blaine. Like Fitzgerald, Amory was born into a family with money, went to prep school then Princeton, drank too much, couldn't find the right woman, and briefly wrote for an ad agency.

The problem with using a bright, young man as a
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Jenna  *Puddin Tame*
"It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being."


Thinking back in time, I believe that I must have had ADD as a kid because when I was presented with all of the classics in school, I just didn't appreciate them like I am now, with the exception of Poe. Since I finished reading Of Human Bondage, I have had a thirst for devouring the classics and lucky me: it's like an extended Christmas since there are so many!!

When deciding on which classics to read my mind went first to F. Scott Fit
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Anne Nikoline
Sep 06, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fitzgerald fans
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: hardcore Fitzgerald fans
This Side of Paradise by F. S. Fitzgerald is something very different from his other works, however, it also happens to be his first published work which got a lot of negative critique. The reason why I happened to like it was because of the author's never failing language and writing style; no matter what Fitzgerald did, he never seemed to fail his audience in this matter.

As I have already mention, this is his first published novel, and the reason why it is so much different from the rest of t
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Jonfaith
The circumstances of the novel have blurred over the years. It is certain that I finished the book at a White Castle, perhaps avoiding aspects of my life which had veered problematic. I recall highballs, many of them. The drinks were in the novel, of course. My own problems involved living in the wrong place and that finding the reciprocity of a relationship was corroding my self-esteem. There is an echo of that within the pages. That was a funny time. Does my smile appear forced?
Seth
One of the things I loved about this book was the character development. We first encounter the protagonist Amory Blaine as a privileged young boy and we accompany him on his journey to prep school, university, and early career. Essentially, this is a coming-of-age novel featuring all of the customary rites of passage.

From the beginning, Fitzgerald describes Amory as a romantic egotist. Only in the last chapter does the egotist evolve into a personage, as he achieves self-understanding. One of t
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Krissy
This Side of Paradise captures a pretentious man's plight from childhood into the sunken sorrows of young adulthood. Amory, an over-zealous academic who resembles not only Fitzgerald but also every I-take-myself-too-seriously student in America, seeks to find his identity in a nation that already has pre-determined what characterizes a "gentleman:" becoming an Ivy-League student; getting drunk with friends and sleeping with girls; having a witty manner; and writing well. But even living within t ...more
Charity
Feb 28, 2012 Charity rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Charity by: Jonathan
Shelves: radcliffe, blah
This Side of Paradise primarily suffers from not being The Great Gatsby. And while I know that This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald's first foray into writing, The Great Gatsby is most people's first foray into Fitzgerald. People have expectations, you know? This Side of Paradise just doesn't measure up. One of TSoP's main flaws is that it has virtually no plot. It does contain the rare snippets of brilliance, but you have to wade through a whole lot of tosh to find them. Still, I can't say that ...more
Ilona
At last I have read all the novels of Fitzgerald and now I can officially say that this novel is my favourite. Yes that is true, many professional literary critics consider it to be the most immature and imperfect work of Fitzgerald, but still I like it and nothing will change my opinion.

This novel is a story of Amory Blaine. Or of Scott Fitzgerald? Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the author and the main characters for there are so many events and people taken from the writer's
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Sara
Ho già accennato - nella recensione di Grandi Speranze di Charles Dickens - alla mia predilezione per i romanzi di formazione: e questo è un romanzo di formazione. In più, tale formazione è quella di Amory (che sta per 'Amoral'?) Blaine, il primo di una lunga serie di alter ego dello stesso autore: dunque, siamo davanti al romanzo di formazione di Francis Scott Fitzgerald. La cosa, capirete, si fa dannatamente interessante. Gli amanti del gossip si troveranno svelati tutti i retroscena della gio ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This was a little bit choppy and largely autobiographical, from what I understand. The ability was there, waiting to be developed, but his organizational skills weren't so hot.

I loved this passage:

"Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don't. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn't want to repeat her girlhood--she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don'
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Dan
Jan 20, 2009 Dan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fitzgerald completeists, prep school wannabes
Recommended to Dan by: masochistic id
Too little here to like, too much here to ignore. This book comprises set-pieces in the life of a boy growing into adulthood. Amory is attracted and repulsed by his peers endlessly re-classifying them while working his way through prep-school, Princeton, and the trailings of a trust fund in New York.

Amory's internal struggles often come across as affectations-- his lack of energy and focus less a concern for Fitzgerald than his hero's attempts to define success and thereby himself. I want to bel
...more
Travis L.
This is perhaps one of the best stories for a twenty-something year old to read during the recession, especially if they have had to set aside their dreams and currently search for something less than extraordinary in order to survive. It is amazing how relevant it is even so long after the emergence of the Jazz Age. Where the book was focused on the clash between old Victorian ideals and the emerging youth liberalization after the first World War, today we find ourselves just as lost. These war ...more
Philip Lee
I Do Hate to Be A Spoiler, but...

I must confess skim-reading “This Side Of Paradise” a couple of years back, dismissing the work as a rag bag and putting it down somewhere on Goodreads as “the first Coffee Table novel”. Before Christmas, I began delivering on a guilty self-pledge to plough through the tome word for word, and not a few weeks did pass before that mealy task was done. The verdict? It is more pastiche than rag bag, a distinction I endeavour to explain below.

Of course, the novel has
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Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur)
May 22, 2013 Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: F. Scott Fitzgerald fans who are patient
Recommended to Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur) by: Myself.

Amory Blaine was always a selfish, unsympathetic child. He grows up to be a fine egotist, attending Princeton Academy and always becomes a victim of love in the end.

I am in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing. I have been ever since I read The Great Gatsby. I would kill to be able to write like him.
His descriptions, his flow, are so beautifully executed that it takes some of the attention away from a boring and non-active story.
Okay, in my last status update, I said this book was amazing. Li
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Jesse
3 1/2 stars
Fitzgerald's first novel suffers from the comparison to his later masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Gatsby packs an efficient, powerful punch and my first reading of it knocked me off my feet. TSOP contains stretches of prolonged brilliance but also contains long stretches of aimlessness. Now, I realize this may be one of the points of the novel but it left me feeling rather distanced from the plot, such as it is, and especially Amory Blaine, the protagonist. I don't feel a protagonist n
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Katie
This book was hard. I am probably not intellectually mature enough for this, or, if I try not to be so self-depricating, it seems like Fitzgerald wraps his ideas in circling words that never quite make their point. I'll concede probably the former and not the latter. In other words - you guys, I don't get it! But it had some pretty moments -

Here's a very relevant one:
" 'Fifty years after Waterloo Napoleon was as much a hero to English school children as Wellington. How do we know our grandchildr
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Megan Fritts
I began this book with mediocre expectations. Fitzgerald is known for his very colorful, sometimes over-the-top prose, and as someone who generally prefers Hemingway-esque curtness, I wasn't looking forward to that.

After a whirlwind reading (1.5 days), I am absolutely certain that it is one of the truest and most agonizing books I've ever read. There was almost no part of Amory's story that did not resonate with me on a very personal level, and when one is reading, they feel as though they are
...more
Christine
If you liked the Great Gatsby this might be one to check out. The main character isn't quite like Gatsby: he seems to be the sort that starts out with the white upper-class set, and his quest for a sort of "American Dream" isn't like Gatsby's rise to riches, but I felt like Amory's fate mirrored the "downfall" like Gatsby's. The chapters on the romance of Amory and his gals somehow makes me visualize it was very similar to F. Scott (Scotty) Fitzgerald's courting of Zelda, or if you are not famil ...more
Fátima
I took me sometime to start seeing the beauty of this book. Fitzgerald is one of my favourite writers, and when I first got this book I was expecting a similar story to The Great Gatsby, but this is different. This Side of Paradise is a view inside Fitzgerald's mind in his youth years. Amory is a character full of romanticism and selfishness. What shocked me about this book is the fact that it includes poetry and letters. Reading this book is reading Amory's mind, getting inside his thoughts abo ...more
Regine
I kind of have this love/hate relationship going on with Fitzgerald. On one hand, I love what Fitzgerald has to say. When I first read The Great Gatsby, I thought "my, what lovely symbolism this book has. What a great commentary on the decline of the American Dream." As much as I love to ramble on about the green light, and Dr. Eckelburg, I absolutely HATED Nick Carraway's narrative.

The love/hate relationship continues with This Side of Paradise. The problem that I had with this book is simple,
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Sisi Yang
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled "Lost Generation," Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfini ...more
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“I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” 4207 likes
“I'm not sentimental--I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know,
is that the sentimental person thinks things will last--the romantic
person has a desperate confidence that they won't.”
2298 likes
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