Annalisa's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Nov 29, 11

bookshelves: classics, movies, literary, favorites
Read in January, 1991

The book starts off a little slow and I wasn't quite sure what direction it was taking, but by the end I'm left with such a melancholy feeling I wanted to devour it again the minute I closed it. Yes, it has it's place as an American classic.

I could feel the desperation of the American Dream in this short novel. Poor Gatsby, who dedicated his life to being good enough for a shallow girl with a magical voice when old money would never accept cheap money. His parties were so needy it was depressing. I could visualize all those moochers who feed off his wealth for a good time when they were never there to accept him and even gossiped about him in his own home. Although Fitzgerald couldn't have known at the time how the opulence of the twenties would crash into the Depression of the thirties, I could feel a warning in his display of the overindulgence, the inability to see past oneself, the complete lack of moral and social consequence. If only we could learn from the past.

Not a single character in this book is likable, except for maybe Nick--who was too inactive to be too likable but I still liked his counterbalance to the overindulgence and his reality check on the American Dream--and Jordan who isn't so much likable as much as interesting. But all the characters are strong and quirky and classic. I particularly hated Tom. I was so angered with him at his last meeting with Nick that I wanted to strangle him. I wanted to see some fear or regret in him, but he couldn't see past his own nose. He couldn't see that the pain he felt was the same pain he caused. So shallow and self-involved it was almost sad. He and Daisy deserved each other.

Daisy was never worth the pedestal Gatsby put her on. Since I read this in high school, I've always pictured Daisy Buchanan when I think about unrequitted love, especially love that has warped over time to be something bigger than it originally was, something unattainable and unrealistic. I hated the way Daisy used up Gatsby and then spit him out when he wasn't worth anything to her anymore. And I hated that Gatsby let her, that he put her on that pedestal and spend five years trying to be something for her instead of for himself or his family or something other than greed and childish love. Gatsby is such a great tragic character, not only because of what happens to him, but because he is so naive about the wealth and people around him. It's what makes Fitzgerald's irony and satire of the American Dream so desperate.

I loved the New York Fitzgerald paints and his scarce analogy, leaving us the reader to define the novel. I loved this book in high school so much I read an anthology of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories (my favorite of which is Bernice Bobs Her Hair and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Along with Catcher in the Rye, I consider The Great Gatsby to be the Quintessential American novel and F. Scott Fitzgerald one of my favorite authors.

Reread 11/21-11/28/11
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Annalisa Thanks, Brian. That means a lot to me coming from one of my uber intelligent goodreads friends whose reviews intimidate me a little :).


Julie Yes, very insightful review!


Annalisa Flippant quizzes can be insightful too, even if they're just insightful about the poster :).


Annalisa I'm trying to think of something sarcastic to say to that and I'm drawing a blank. My comedic bone must have already gone to bed. Traitor.


Melanie Excellent review! You know how my reading of Gatsby led to my obsession with Fitzgerald and my consequent reading of the rest of his works as well!


message 6: by Annalisa (last edited Nov 30, 2011 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Annalisa Of course I do! It's your anthology of short stories I read. That was one of my highlights of freshman year, lugging that thing on the bus every week.


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