svnh's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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's review
Jul 31, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: one-more-time

After six years of these heated and polarized debates, I'm deleting the reviews that sparked them. Thanks for sharing your frustrations, joys, and insights with me, goodreaders. Happy reading!

In love and good faith, always,
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 207) (207 new)

message 1: by laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

laura *applause* Very well said.

message 2: by Laura-lou (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:14PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura-lou I cannot say how much agree with you!
This has to be the most BORING book that i have read. Some people I know think it's the best ever and that fitzgeral is a genius.
I'm so glad I'm not alone!

message 3: by A-ron (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:46PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

A-ron I also don't think this is the greatest novel ever, but I find your support for your argument to be just as whiney as Hemingway claimed Fitzgerald to be. A bachelor's in english does not an authority one make. All I can do is shrug at your need to prove that you are justified in not liking the novel. You don't have to like it by today's standards, but to be unable to appreciate it does show a lack of maturity.

There is a reason why the lost generation writers are venerated. They capture a turning point in American history, and outlook on life - an outlook which now covers the entire globe.

My guess is that most people that don't like these writers actually don't like what they are writing about, or the way people thought at the time and so therefore can not appreciate the window to the past that they have left open for us.

message 4: by svnh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

svnh darling, it's a personal review, not a book report or a critical response. were it either of those things, i'd have managed better warrants, but since this isn't my academic/professional life, it seemed a bit unnecessary. and if you re-read the last sentence in spite of the end of the first paragraph, you'll realize that my degree doesn't have shit to do with it.

i don't like the great gatsby. i understand fitzgerald, i could probably argue hemingway to the death with you and, not to be cocky, but it's likely that i would win (if you could win something so subjective). i doubt, genuinely, that saying you do not enjoy a canonical book on an internet book site qualifies as evidence for my "lack of maturity," and your blatant regurgitation of "why fitzgerald is important" isn't very convincing. do you honestly think i've escaped that lecture?

so, my final point: i do not dislike anyone that likes the novel, but i'm not into it, and that's okay because we'd never get anywhere if everyone agreed, now would we? i do, however, dislike anyone who refuses to see the possibility of NOT venerating the great gatsby and to personally attack me on the internet for being of a different mind.

really, man. it's okay for me to make my own decisions. i'm a big girl.

message 5: by Laura-lou (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura-lou *claps*

Anna Finally, someone else who does not like Great Gatsby!

Laura-lou I know!

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

thank god. i had to read this in high school and felt disconnected to every single character and had no interest in what happend to anyone. it seemed that i was the only one who felt this way since my whole class seemed to adore it. i don't mind if others enjoy it, but to constantly prattle on about how great it is and how stupid i am for not understanding it's "genius" is EXTREMELY irritating.

message 9: by Al (new) - rated it 5 stars

Al hemingway was actually inspired by the great gatsby.

message 10: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Bravo. 'The Great Gatsby' is largely crap, and I consider suspect the tastes of anyone that thinks otherwise.

It's popularity is I think the convergence of HS school students feeling relief at getting over a reading assignment so quickly, and critics loving anything that they can claim attacks 'the American dream' (whatever that is).

"or the way people thought at the time and so therefore can not appreciate the window to the past that they have left open for us."

Quite the contrary. We are having a good snicker at those that think this is a 'window into the past'. FSF was a shyster, a con-artist, a blatant self-promoter that invented an imaginary world and sold it as a bill of goods to some ivory tower intellectuals who never left a tweed suit. He was full of it, and at the time, most people knew it. It was only after WWII that the critics were really able to sell the existance of Gatsby's creation to impressionable high schoolers that didn't know any better.

Philip ^Tool.

(Good review. :))

message 12: by Betsy (new) - rated it 1 star

Betsy oh thank crap i'm not alone in thinking the plot fell out of my copy. i just...gah. i tried to like it; i too am an english major and adore books of most kinds but i absolutely loathed ye olde gatsby. gah. *wrings hands*

message 13: by John (new)

John C This book drove me insane. Was there a single line that didn't represent something else. It was like he decided to cram in all this symbolism by sacrificing the actual story.

message 14: by Jack (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jack This is just another comment to say: svnh, I with you on the Gatsby.

message 15: by Seth (new) - rated it 1 star

Seth You take all the bad things I have to say about this book and put them far more eloquently than I ever could. I think that the requirement to read tripe like this in eighth grade (yes I was also forced) is the reason that so many college students and graduates NEVER read. Great review.

Rishi Nope, I never liked it, thank God I'm not the only one.

Sandy Well honey, were you around in the 'flapper day's' in order to be so sure that Fitzgerald was in fact acting out a 'one hundred percent fabricated "king of the flappers" persona.'? I doubt it, and I wasn't either. Yes, I had to read the book in that period of my life too, and I was not as enamored of it as many, e.g. my father, but it appears to me to be a generational thing, which I, being born in the 50's, do not choose to criticize as self-righteously as you do. In fact, I recognize it for what it is, a reflection of a time and place I have next to no connection with but that does not dismiss its validity as a reflection of someone else's reality.
And, despite what you think, that reality really did exist. My great grandparents' families lived it. Resources and status long gone by the time my generation came along. But it was their reality. So, no need to be so high-fallutin' with self-assurance that it is all a load of bull. It's not. It's just not the reality of 99.999 percent of the people in the world.

And your 'rampant hate' is a pretty ugly world to live in. It's both whiney and completely lacks integrity, thus bringing into question much of your 'review'. Instead it reads 'indifference', 'self-indulgence' and 'loathing' for anything that does not meet your definition of 'cool'. Sad state of affairs if many American youth are like you. Time to grow up honey, which doesn't mean you have to like something or someone, it only means learning to speak of it without your tone of self-righteousness.

message 18: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Kammel To play your middle schooler/ high schooler role hat you have established in your review, I think that this was an amazing book. Sure, If I read it now I would probably just say "it was pretty good", but being one of the first novels where I was truly challenged to personally analyze the characters (where i felt that i related with at least a few), it remains very close to me.

The reason I am not trying to argue from your point of view is because I dont think you would listen, so i am just simply talking from my high school point of view (and i still am i high schooler) and I am saying that I loved this book. Also, I appreciate how you have lovely categorized me into your little "white, safe, and slightly edgey" view. However, It relieves me to know that the box you have put me in doesn't exist, I might have broken a sweat if it did.

Michael Sandy - I think I have a crush on you. Well said!!!

message 20: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Norcross This book you don't seem to be too impressed by is one of the most beautiful prose ever written in the english language. The essence of true love is there, the guy changed his whole life to try and impress her. Many questions can come from that very simple, very dramatic concept. If he was born into her class, would he have done so much to impress her? Would he even had been in love with her? I think you're missing the core of the character.

Libbyxlovesxducks I am currently having to read it for AP English,
and were suppose to write a 500 word response to this book, and I don't really know what to say, because everyone is saying "This book is beautifully writen, amazing etc" and I don't really like it at all. :/

message 22: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Norcross If everyone loved the same piece equally, there would be a problem. Why not write about why it doesn't interest you at all?


Libbyxlovesxducks wrote: "I am currently having to read it for AP English,
and were suppose to write a 500 word response to this book, and I don't really know what to say, because everyone is saying "This book is beautifull...">

message 23: by Jared (new) - rated it 1 star

Jared It is nice to find others that will welcome you with open arms. I never liked this book and anytime it is brought up I get attacked for my thoughts on it.

message 24: by Bri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bri svnh wrote: "darling, it's a personal review, not a book report or a critical response. were it either of those things, i'd have managed better warrants, but since this isn't my academic/professional life, it s..."


message 25: by Bri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bri I was made to read this book as a summer assignment in my honors english class... yep, still in high school. That seems to be what most people are complaining about, that they were forced to read it at this stage in their life. I really enjoyed reading your review, and your response to that guy that claimed you weren't mature.

I had to read this book in a shorter amount of time than the rest of my classmates because I'd just transferred to the school. Surprisingly enough, after initially being bored out of my friggin mind, I fairly enjoyed reading this tale... Gatsby's end was a bit unfortunate...actually, the whole situation was. I admit, I couldn't very well connect with many of the characters but Nick(sort of, not really.) but I still liked reading it.

I didn't know the book was regarded in the way you and other people on this page have described by so many people having just heard of it this year XD - I liked it, having a chance to experience that era(sort of. - kind of wish I could know what it was really like, but life now and what was described in the story was fun to compare, as with any fiction from another time or place) Hehe, I kind of liked the drama too ;D! Many of my classmates were ready to shoot themselves in the head by the time we all started school... although none could give much reason... it's nice to get perspectives on WHY someone doesn't like this story, finally.

message 26: by Bri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bri Jared wrote: "It is nice to find others that will welcome you with open arms. I never liked this book and anytime it is brought up I get attacked for my thoughts on it. "

That stinks.

message 27: by Bri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bri Libbyxlovesxducks wrote: "I am currently having to read it for AP English,
and were suppose to write a 500 word response to this book, and I don't really know what to say, because everyone is saying "This book is beautifull..."

Write about how you didn't enjoy it! Your teacher didn't say you had to love it =]

message 28: by Bri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bri Eric wrote: "This book you don't seem to be too impressed by is one of the most beautiful prose ever written in the english language. The essence of true love is there, the guy changed his whole life to try an..."

Thumbs up!

Charles Matthews I think this is one of the greats, but it has been the cause of some heated arguments between an old friend and me. He cites what svnh does: the feeling of disconnection from the characters. And it is a chilly book. Fortunately, I didn't read it in high school but much later, when I knew a bit more about obsession and ambition and all of those things that Fitzgerald portray about as well as anyone. I'd have to reread it to mount a more articulate defense, but I'm surprised that so many people agree with my friend.

Alfred Bates I'm currently in 10th grade and we just started it and now I am very very scared. But it's ok because I have Faulkner and Joyce to get me through it...

Your review was well written, I can't agree or disagree... yet...

message 31: by Mai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mai I love how you don't get fooled by the labels that have been slapped onto this book, and keep to your own opinion. Although I am a part of the many that lean on the "like" rather than the "dislike" side on account of this book, I still can agree with your opinion that Fitzgerald is a bit whiney, and it's hard to get a connection with the characters.

message 32: by Kelly (last edited Apr 11, 2010 11:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly Well, I can't really refute your grievances, but I still loved reading it. I liked that it gives clues to what's going on beneath the surface of character interactions without stating things outright - I have a lot of trouble figuring out social situations in real life, so interpreting them in literature gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Also, I'm a bit overfond of lyrical writing, I identified with Nick's struggle to find a middle ground between sentimentality and cynicism, and I pitied Gatsby (although I know my reaction to him is colored by highly subjective narration).

I think it's always taught because it's short, has a well-structured and dramatic plot, and its system of symbolism is sufficiently definite for inexperienced readers to recognize independently.

message 33: by Ula (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ula Al wrote: "hemingway was actually inspired by the great gatsby."

Perhaps he was inspired to write an actual book after reading the Great Gatsby

Karen completely agree. i couldn't even bear to finish the book because it was so boring, and i usually LOVE classic novels!

message 35: by Cara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cara I liked this book, but I'm not going to argue with you because opinions are opinions, whether it's on classic, modernist, or trash literature. Hell, I had to deal with a whole wing of English teachers jumping down my throat when I wrote an essay on why Holden Caulfield was a brat and waste of my time. The fact that people can comprehend a book enough not to kiss its ass speaks more about their intelligence to me than anything.

I just wanted to say that you had a real thing against capitalization when you were 21, didn't you?


Irene Muller Well, you have learned to capitalise correctly since posting your first review. For that, I must give you credit.

message 37: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Your review & many of those who have responded to your opinions are barely in English. For instance - to have a review that is both 'pithy & unwarranted' is to challenge credulity itself, & any argument you might have in judging a 20th century classic like The Great Gatsby completely falls apart.

Read some more books & shut up until you have developed some taste in reading.

message 38: by Yas (new) - rated it 2 stars

Yas Bottom line is everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Everyone is entitled to have different tastes and moreover everyone is entitled to voice them.

I find some of the personal attacks on this reviewer despicable and they just demonstrate the lack of maturity that some of you have. She doesn't like the book and has explained why, that is fair enough.


message 39: by E (new) - rated it 2 stars

E Sweetman Well said for an arrogant 21-year old. There are pearls of wisdom in youth when you can sift through the entitlement. I have been there and done that and occasionally cringe at my obnoxious opinions.
I'm glad you went back to capitalization. That writing-in-lower-case phase that so many early twenty-somethings idolize is really annoying.
Agree with and enjoyed your review.

Michelle Okay, I happen to be a fan of this book. However, what I find even more interesting than the plot is the fact that people get so worked up about different opinions. Hilarious. You know most of the rude commenters wouldn't issue their remarks to your face because, oooh, that would be rude.

Whether you're 21 or 30, I say rage on, lady! The jerks should learn how to click on something else.

message 41: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin I thoroughly enjoyed that Fitzgerald expects me to comprehend what I read chapters previous to tie back the current story line.

As for the characters problem, Mr. Carraway has his own story line that never pours through but I liked that! He is touched and influenced by this soap opera of people. Six degrees of separation so to speak. I'm sorry you can't feel the characters but don't you think the narrator filters the crap out for you? I appreciated that.

message 42: by Man (last edited Jun 11, 2011 03:59PM) (new)

Man O'neal I may agree with you. The reason I say "may" is because I never finsihed this book. I got about seven pages deep and could go no further. It was that bad. I can't say that I thought the whole book was bad because I haven't read the whole book. But if I find the first seven pages horrible enough to act as instant repelent, chances are I wouldn't like the rest.

message 43: by Jillybeads81 (new) - added it

Jillybeads81 Hall-Parris I just wanted to say that you are an excellent writer!

message 44: by Tuesday (new)

Tuesday Perfect review that says pretty much everything I thought when I read the book so long ago. If I don't care about the characters or what happens to them, I don't care for the book. Perhaps there are some who would suggest that this makes me unfit to have an opinion of this book, but I venture that I'm not alone. I'd give it another chance though. Perhaps my tastes have changed over the last 20 years.

message 45: by Aspen (last edited Nov 28, 2010 02:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aspen You are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I don't see why it's a big deal at all for you to think negatively of a book just because it's commonly loved.

If you are hoping to find a way to like it my suggestion would be to think of it in the time it was written and in reflection of Fitzgerald's life.

I, too, was struggling to like modern literature as a whole because of the constant negativity. As an English major myself, I felt uncomfortable not liking things that were meant to be liked and considered classics by most literary experts. So, I went to my professor of modern literature and asked him to enlighten me...and he did!

He explained that their common theme of writing often portrayed their own experiences. It is often said (and I'm sure you've heard through your schooling) that authors styles are formed by their surroundings. For me, the connection between the lives of the authors and their books is intriguing. I understand it more now and even appreciate it. But, that may not be the case for you even still. We all have our preferences.

Look up Fitzgerald's biography and then read the book again, noting the similarities. Maybe it will change your opinion...maybe it won't. Either way it shouldn't matter to anyone what your opinion is, except yourself.

message 46: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Rankin I'm with you. I have read this book junior year of high school. It was horrible. Granted I haven't read it since, and seeing as how I burned my book once that horrible segment was over (favorite thing about that book btw) and the udder distaste that I had about the book, probably never will, I didn't understand it, the way that the author wrote the book, described things in such a weird fashion that I couldn't even begin to imagine what was going on and what the settings looked like let alone the characters (I have an overactive imagination, and generally read books in a day because I can picture the settings in an instant and books play out more like a movie in my head), I think that the characters were so OVER developed that you couldn't follow what they were doing, and so much information was given but yet there was no information given at all...

anyway this is my rant that I would have liked to give in high school but there wasn't an interweb like there is today.

message 47: by Kelly (new) - rated it 1 star

Kelly Renée People shouldn't criticize you for not liking this book. I too, hate this book with a burning passion and don't understand why it's one of the most biggest books of time. Yes, I get why it would be considered a classic, because of how it was written and the message it gives, blah blah blah, but to me it was just so dead pan boring.

People have no right to troll another for having different opinions.

message 48: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen McLeod The offensive thing about your review, to me, at any rate, is the fact that the basis of it is the fact that you felt "disconnected" from the characters. You say nothing about the merit of the story or the literature - just that you don't feel concern for them. I think that's essentially the problem with readers in this day and age - they cannot see the value in or understand something that does not directly affect them. It's narcissistic and pitiful, but certainly a fact. You didn't like it because you didn't get it. You didn't get it because it wasn't about you. Isn't the beauty of reading the availability of a million different worlds right from the comfort of your easy chair? Isn't it supposed to open new worlds; not just to affirm the life you're already living? Open your eyes!

Michael Caylo-Baradi If you didn't dig it, then you didn't. Nothing wrong with that. And you may never dig it, in the future. But! when you say you didn't dig it and I see the other books you've read, I say, you dig this book on a level that's not par to, say, Anais Nin's or Henry James' work. I think I dig it that you didn't dig this book. But what I dig is that you TOTALLY dig this book.

message 50: by Seth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Seth I think your post is getting responses because it is provocative. For me, it was the first one that came up on my search. I just finished the Great Gatsby. Reading through your original thoughts, it seems that you had major problems with its aesthetics. It was the first thing you mentioned. Not much can be done about that and I think your objections are totally valid. What people find aesthetically pleasing is very subjective and cannot be held to a fixed guideline.

I found it to be breezy, for sure. It's not high drama, that's certain. I actually felt that the aesthetics were much like the characters: waspy, understated, a bit mundane at times. Since I liked the book, I would call it elegant. Again, that's totally personal, what one finds pleasing.

I did notice that you called into question its status as a great love story. That is always what I thought it would be too, but I found something different after finishing it. I don't think it is intended to be a love story at all. I think it is an examination of the obsession behind the American Dream. It seemed an indictment, on the motives behind it. Fitzgerald gives very little reason for Gatsby to actually be in love with Daisy.

Remember how Nick describes Daisy's voice, sort of sing-song. It had this beautiful ring, that just pulled you in? Turns out, in Nick's final repudiation of Daisy and Tom, that she was actually just shrill. Her voice was that of old Money, and the mannerisms that accompany that. She probably learned that voice from her mom. This sort-of reveals that Nick has someone bought into this ideal, so that any clue of high-society was like a perfume to him, in this case it was the sweet sound of her voice that lured Nick and seduced him, because he had already assumed that her life was the ultimate end. He learned the opposite in the novel' conclusion.

But Jay Gatsby was completely sold. I doubt whether his love for her was Shakespearean. I think he just wanted to be accepted and loved by high society. He wanted desperately, his whole life (as his notes in his copy of Butch Cassidy reveal) to better himself, so that he could ultimately live in that high society circle, and be familiar there.

Overall, I think the novel's theme has to do with our lizard brain's desire to huddle and survive, and in modern society, old wealth is the epitome of survival in this harsh world. They are, supposedly, Darwin's example of the fittest. Jay wanted to be a part of that since he was a child. But he got chewed and spit out, and was revealed to have little else. His obsession had stripped him of any desire to make real friends and have a real life, so much that in the end, nobody came to his funeral.

If it's a love story, it's more about how the devotion to received wisdom can meet with old impulses to create a destructive compulsion, expressed as the pursuit of the American Dream

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