Sam's Reviews > The Beautiful and Damned

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Feb 27, 2014

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Read in January, 2012

This book was... heavy. I read it in a couple days, but it's so emotionally and mentally exhausting it was just painful most of the time. Fitzgerald almost viciously pulls the rug out any time there's a slight chance of things getting better for Gloria and Anthony who, rather than confronting their flaws and getting their proverbial shit together, seem to alternate between wallowing and reveling in their self-destructive boredom and self-pity. It's a study in absolute misery. It reminded me more than a little of Bleak House, watching Richard and Ada's downward spiral as the lawsuit eats up any ambition or practicality they ever had. Unlike Bleak House, however, these characters aren't particularly deserving or likable, and that's probably one of its big faults for many of this book's detractors. For a lot of people it must be like watching a car crash which also happens to make you late for work... annoying and kind of depressing. But I actually found them quite sympathetic (if not very well-defined) and even relatable at times, which made their decline all the more real, disturbing, and frightening to me. There are a lot of horrible aspects of their personalities and thoughts that I can't imagine would be easy to relate to, or to admit relating to, for most people, but I certainly could and can't be the only one. Ultimately I found it pretty moving, if raw and hollow, and though I didn't like it as much as This Side of Paradise or Gatsby it didn't do anything to lessen my admiration of Fitzgerald and his beautiful prose. "Say things to the world that are true": though I don't know much about its author, that quote has been stuck in my mind since I first saw it, but never so much as when I was reading this book.
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Richard Vogt Correct. Go straight to the top of the class


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