I'll start by saying that this is a rather quick read, so why not read it?! The book is 216 pages but the actual story is 189. It is also very easy to...moreI'll start by saying that this is a rather quick read, so why not read it?! The book is 216 pages but the actual story is 189. It is also very easy to read; I think that is one reason it is acclaimed for it's brief ease of reading. I'll admit, some "classics" are not as easy to read. Fitzgerald writes with a focus. He knows what he's going in to do and therefore his writing is very set to it, is the best way I can describe it. Yet at times, it felt too structured for me and too bland- yes, even with all the symbolism in it it was bland for me, but that's just me.
Sometimes the ending of a book can almost ruin it, or at least bring it down. I think the ending of this book solidified the purpose of the book, to shed light on greed, on the rich, and on that era. I particularly liked that it showed that money does not conquer. One reviewer on Goodreads said it showed the opposite. Yet Gatsby was rich, due to certain things, but he was rich, and that did not win him the girl. I found this rather surprising because I would figure, in that age, money does conquer.
I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to because there was a lack of characterization. Even readers who loved the book stated this. Now if this were a sci-fi where characterization is generally not the focus, I'd know that going in as sci-fi focuses on the message and the setting. The only characterization in The Great Gatsby with Nick, not even really Gatsby himself (in my opinion), and even then I had trouble drawing an attachment to the character. I have to have that characterization, that bond with these people's lives to really care. I did not have that. Part of that lack of characterization impacted the romance, or should I say what romance? The book, as shown by the title, is to be about Gatsby and this love he has for Daisy. Yet it was hard for me to see or care for this love because it was told from the eyes of Nick and because of the lack of characterization. I'm not at all doubting Fitzgerald's writing, it just was not writing for me.
I was somewhat middle of the road on this book, liked parts and disliked others but overall it was just okay for me. I liked it because it did have a...moreI was somewhat middle of the road on this book, liked parts and disliked others but overall it was just okay for me. I liked it because it did have a lesson to teach. I just felt that it took a long time to get to that lesson, for a rather short book. On the plus side, this book should not take you long to read. I finished it in a day, between doing other things.
The lesson that it taught was (or what I got from it) that there is no such thing as utopia and that we should never take our freedoms and abilities for granted. Sure, I have been taught these things before and I think they are getting to basics. I did like the depth to which it went. For example, the ability to see color (an ability that not all have) is something so "basic" that should not be taken for granted, as pointed out in the book.
At the same time, I was not a huge fan of the extreme simplicity in the writing. Granted, I know that this is technically a juvenile book and is not geared to my age group, so I suppose I'm not being fair. Maybe that's why I read more books classified as adult.
I'm not sure if this book started the jump into dystopians (since dystopians are highly popular right now), if so then I have a bit more respect for it, for opening up a new genre. Again, I don't know if it did. If it did not then I understand the hype and Newberry Award for I think books should get credit for setting examples. If it didn't then I thought it was a bit too simple in many ways.
I also read reviews about there being a spiritual aspect and "christ like" figure. I did not read that at all. And I must add that so many people reviewed the book calling it a utopian world. It's not a utopian world. Like the dust jacket said, it is a "seemingly ideal world," key word "seemingly." For it is far from a utopia. No utopia would remove the freedom to choose.
I also did like the analogy that people became so repressed that they saw only in black and white because that is true of reality. Okay, they don't actually see in black and white but they do in essence in that their options are limited in what they see. I think that was the message Lowry was trying to send.
I think this book did partly bother me because it seemed like a combination of Fahrenheit 451 and The Alchemist. At least, that is how I felt. Another reason I had trouble was because I felt that there was a lack of characterization. I was not really tied to Jonas. I was also not a huge fan of the ending. Again, it was okay for me.(less)
Overall, I gave it three stars because three stars on Goodreads means I "liked it." I did like it, but I didn't love it or even really like it. I thin...moreOverall, I gave it three stars because three stars on Goodreads means I "liked it." I did like it, but I didn't love it or even really like it. I think, if I read this as a teenager, then I would have loved it. I would have been able to relate to it but I can no longer relate to that time. I suppose I'm not too big into coming of age stories anyway...is what I'm learning. I liked Charlie; I liked his brilliance and his honesty. The thing that holds me back is it felt like, as one reviewer pointed out, a bunch of rambling. I do agree with some reviewers in that I think it's a bit overrated, but again I think it all depends on how relateable it is to you and at near 27 it is not relateable to me; so it seemed like a lot of whining at times. I am interested to see how the movie turns out.(less)
Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, even a quarter of the way through. It reminded me of a movie called "The Condemned" where a bunch of p...moreHonestly, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, even a quarter of the way through. It reminded me of a movie called "The Condemned" where a bunch of prisoners were made to fight to the death and the survivor is set free from imprisonment. They made the battle a tv show. Yet, even with a very similar plot, I LOVED this book! Once I really got into the "games" part of it I was hooked.
Why I loved it: It wasn't just the action and the characters I connected with. It was the messages within it. Collins, if you watch interviews with her, intended those messages to be in there. Messages on: the problems with reality tv, with displaying war on the tv and not covering the good but just letting blood lead the news, of hunger, of desensitization, love, teamwork, of division of classes, government control and government overthrow, of doing what's right and not what you are told, and so much more. This book has been challenged and banned at many places because it was just "too much" for children. I thank Collins for not holding back, like most YA authors do, on those messages and on the violence because violence, sadly, is reality. She gave them the truth, along with an enjoyable story. I have since read all of the books I think she did a fine job of it. But if you don't like violence and can't handle the truth of reality, then this book is not for you.(less)