A.J.'s Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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's review
Aug 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read from August 25 to 26, 2011

I first read F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterwork my freshman year of high school. That was about ten years ago. What a difference a decade makes. Holy fuck!

My first non-story related impression was that this book should immediately be stripped from all required reading lists in all high school English classes. The reason is––and here I'm not trying to be deliberately condescending––that both from my own personal experience of being a high schooler who read it and knowing a lot more high schoolers who might read it, I'll flatly assert that very few if any of them will have the capacity for appreciating or understanding much of anything going on here. I say that because I had no capacity for appreciating or understanding much of anything going on there. Now, a little older and a little better read, the true depths of the book are slightly clearer.

The Great Gatsby is not the only story of its kind or the only story about disillusionment. A lot of the best fictional works out there across a variety of mediums have a core theme that when the party stops, when the guests drive off down the road, and the last of the booze is drained, we look back to find there was never anything tangible there at all. The illusion of wealth and success and happiness was just that––an illusion, and beneath it all the time was an aching emptiness.

At some point while working on Gatsby, Fitzgerald wrote his editor and said, "I feel an enormous power in me now, more than I've ever had." Without context the statement could mean a number of things, but I like to imagine that he's referring to his prose. I like to imagine that because it helps explain the sheer magnitude and gravity of this writing. Writing like this doesn't happen every day or to every author. The ability to infuse irony and humor with profundity, to turn moods on a dime through language, and to craft a story that all at once addresses characters, an age, and even a nation––(holy fuck!)––is simply incredible.

Five stars and an Orson Welles clap. I'll write a note to myself to read it in another ten years, if I survive that long. I'll be sure to expand the review if I do. Until then, onward, boats against the current.

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09/03 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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message 1: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Sorensen You'll make it another ten years. Great review here.

A.J. Shawn wrote: "You'll make it another ten years. Great review here."

Thanks, and I admire your optimism.

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