The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby discussion


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worst book ever!

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Laura-lou does anyone agree with me that this is the worst and most boring book of all time?


Jamie What? This was the second best book that I read in high school. Macbeth takes top honors.


message 3: by Bo (new)

Bo I've never liked it. Hated all the characters and think it's totally overrated. I don't know why it's forced on students year after year.


message 4: by Trebro (new)

Trebro I don't think it's the worst book ever, but I do agree it's overrated. I think it's probably one of those "represents a generation" books that I as a reader tend not to care for.


message 5: by Emu (new) - rated it 1 star

Emu It's not the WORST book ever; that would be Jane Eyre. But this is an easy number 2.


message 6: by Dixi (new) - rated it 1 star

Dixi i hate it too. i had no connection with the characters and just ended up becoming frustrated in the end.


pani Katarzyna Yeah, I didn't like it. The blunt simplicity of characters could compete with those in harlequins. It's good that it was short so I didn't waste too much of my time on it.


Allie No, not the worst book ever. But it didn't top my favorites by any means. It felt extremely exaggerated and shallow, but then again, it was a book about high society. Over all I just think it was a matter of preference, that's all.


Shannon Not my fav, grew tired of "whatever" Daisy "CRIED".. Seems like the only things that came out of her mouth were things that she 'cried'.. ?? I didnt get that and found it annoying..


Vickie T I agree. Totally overrated. I don't know why we still torture students with it for American literature. So many other American authors to choose from. A good take off on the book is Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman for young adults. It is Gatsby set in a high school and is hilarious.


Salma wow- I definitely have to read it again. The two times I've read it, it easily tops my list of fave books. But it's been years since I read it.


Jenny Moon Yep, didn't enjoy it at all. I think that it is a classic more because it defines an era than because it is a literary masterpiece. Personally, I think students time could be better spent.


message 13: by Shelly (new)

Shelly I was forced to read it in high school and I hated it. I don't generally hate books, but this one I did.


Kristine This was so bad I read it in High School 15 years ago and I still hate it. If it's not the worst book ever it sure comes in second place!



Amelia Is it really fair to assess a book by your opinion of it at age 15? Compound that by the fact that it was "assigned reading", no book is ever as enjoyable when forced to read it. It may not be quite as bad as you think.


Norman To love The Great Gatsby, you need to appreciate Fitzgerald's craft. His use of language is amazing when you stop to consider all shades of meaning that his descriptions (especially of character) evoke. Few writers use symbolism as well as he does - the green light, the Valley of Ashes, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, the dog Myrtle buys, etc. And the ambiguity of Nick as narrator brings a sense of mystery that will never be dispelled.

For those who want simple yes/no answers to all questions in literature (and perhaps in life as well), The Great Gatsby may be frustrating. But if you enjoy musing on what might have been, could have been, or might still be...then this book will interest you.


Kristine I read a ton of books while in High School assigned and non-assigned and I loved and hated books in both categories. Watching Gatsby chase after his dreams was painful at best, even more so now that I am an adult. Is there a tragic beauty in his devotion? I can see how other see that. For me not so much.
Fitzgerald captures a unique slice of American life and goals. I just think that type of life and those type of goals are not something to be aspired to or idolized.
I will say this the fact that his characters inspire such feelings in me is a tribute to his writing skill. Even if he didn't create a story I liked I still remember it.


message 18: by Alan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alan I didn't have to read it in High School; I chose to. Started out with Fitz' first book, and read through them, watched Beloved Infidel, read some of the other bios. What was then a recent bio of Zelda got me started.

The book was also featured in televised college course on American Lit, and I got some of the images burned in, the light, the billboard.

Maybe if I had to write a brief essay on it, I would have hated it. Am suspicious of all the "themed" books that are required reading. Then it was civil rights, now it seems to be the holocaust.

Gatsby seemed to be, after the war, now what?

Except for Lord of the Flies, Red Badge and Silas Marner, I don't remember required novels in school. Most were chosen off a list. I was spared A Separate Peace, and Animal Farm plus stuff like The Giver, The Outsiders, that wasn't written. Lots of plays, yes, including Macbeth, essays, selected poetry.

The Gatsby poseur, the invented self, seems relevant today. I live near the Palm Beach rich and see lots of it, the finer points of consumption and travel/hobby stories having replaced the Jane Austen excruciating points of class and property distinctions. There is a thinness to it -- why should we care so much about success and lost or found love, absented from social conflict, war, and other matters?

I'm not sure you have to take it in context, but I read around at the same time in Dreiser, Howells, Lewis, James and other more or less contemporary novels exploring ambition and the provincial vs. sophisticate. Probably The Red and the Black or Thomas Hardy are better, but not native.

There is a clear sense that we can invent or create ourselves, but does it work?






message 19: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Maybe so many of us didn't like the book is because we couldn't understand it as teens. I'd like to read it again as an adult and see if I see it differently.


message 20: by Dale (new) - added it

Dale Pearl You know, I went into the reading of the Great Gatsby without having read anyone's reviews. I went in with a clean slate and I sure felt as if this was one of the worst books that I have ever read from an interest keeping stand point. The craftmanship of the writer is good that is not in question but the storyline is boring and half way through you find yourself saying, "who cares?"



LooseLips this seems like the perfect opportunity to sell myself in this contest the goodreads team has going. take a look if you will. vote if you can. help a poor girl win $20.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show_g...


message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave Hollowman, "who cares" is one of the points of Gatsby. It is about inventing oneself, of superficial relations, of opulent wealth, of show and fashion, all without substance.

The images and themes from Gatsby and Giants in the Earth remain with me nearly 40 years after reading them.


message 23: by Joan (new)

Joan Eads I agree it is overrated. However, sometimes I think Americans are like Daisy and Gatsby--a careless country...


Dennis I didn't read it in high school and it was offered as an elective read in university, which I passed on. I read it in two daysas an adult and felt it was possibly the most overrated and disappointing reads I ever came across. many books are about dreams but here's a guy who is so rich that he has nothing to do but wish for whatever else he wants or thinks he wants or could imagine wanting. Here's a tip, Jay: get a job. Then you'll know the value of wishing...


Catamorandi It is definitely overrated. I'm not sure that it is the WORST book ever, but it is certainly in the top five. It was very boring and hard to understand. The only reason that I read it was because it was required in my senior year of high school. I could have done without it very easily.


message 26: by Golden Rose (last edited Mar 09, 2008 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Golden Rose The Great Gatsby is, by far, the best book that I have ever read, and I read it for enjoyment, not for school.
I could see how someone who does not read into the meaning of this book or appreciate the writing would think it was boring. The Great Gatsby is a book that requires a devoted reader, someone who is willing to explore the layers of the text.
I think what makes a lot of you sick of this book is the fact that you were forced to read it. With all of the activities, essays, and reading comprehension pages, we begin to hate assigned books. I would recommend that those of you who don't like it wait a year or two and then go back and read it for enjoyment. I think you'll find that it's not that bad. Maybe you'll even like it. :)


Dennis Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I read it on my own, sitting by the lake in the summer, and I found a bunch of self-conscious people complaining that money hadn't bought them happiness after all. I appreciate your comments about the layers oftext but I think it comes down to whether you like these people and identify with their problems or you think they're a bunh of whiners who need to get jobs.


Kristine Easily one of my favorite books in high school, along with that we always had great gatsby day where we all dressed as flappers and what not. Read it again and see if it changes your mind. I find alot of books i hated as a teen i enjoy as an adult....


Dennis I read it as an adult. I was around 40, old enough not to make a face but too old to enjoy dressing up as Gatsby. (A perfectly reasonable high school activity.) No sale. Pretentious people in ivory towers with no real interest in those "below" them. That's who we're talking about.


Elisha I attempted to read it because so many people said it was a great book, but I only managed to get half way through it. The plot was confusing and the characters had no personality.


message 31: by Mister Jones (last edited Mar 15, 2008 05:28AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mister Jones I've read it twice; once on my own, and again in a college lit course. I thought it was terribly overrated both times. A good book possibly so; a great book? I just don't think so. The worst book? I can think of a lot worse. Some of Fitzgerald's short stories I like, but from that time with short stories and novels, Hemingway was way ahead of him. Just found Gatsby a rather dull book.....where many agonizing assigned literary essays take a part its symbolisms. Who can ever forget the massive amount of green light essays? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I can, or at least I thought I could until this comment.


Melissa I agree with Laura-Lo & Bo. I didn't like it at all. I even read it as an adult and still it didn't make me think about life, love, or society. I just don't think it IS all it has been made to be.


Michaelw1936 I dont think that its the worst book ever, but it definitely is not my favorite. Ethan Frome is the worst book ever.


Laura I love the book for its sense of tragedy, use of symbolism, and Fitzgerald's amazing writing style.


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

Matt I know this is a thread on how it sucks but it was one of the best books I read in HS, however if you want a book that sucks, "The Scarlet Letter" takes the cake when it comes to crappy books..


Kieran This is an incredible work of genius. Heed not these reviews.


Kieran The Scarlet Letter is another masterpiece. Without it there would be no such thing as American literature.


message 38: by Rea (new) - rated it 1 star

Rea If you are an avid book reader and lover I don't think your opinion or perceptions is compromised if you are 'forced' to read a book for school or not. There are many books I read for school that I loved, such as "One Hundred Years of Solitude", "Crime and Punishment" and the aforementioned "The Scarlet Letter".

But "The Great Gatsby" I truly believe to be a horrible, overrated, over- analyzed, dull book. It is the only book I have read in my life that I had to read the first page three times over. Perhaps if I had not been forced to read it, I would have never finished it. I think it is neck to neck with "Wuthering Heights" for worst book ever.

Although I find that women hate "The Great Gatsby" and men love it, based on discussions I have had with people. Does anyone else notice this trend?



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

Joe Paulk One of the top five worst books I've suffered through for the sake of "being literate". Next to Ulysses, it is the second most overrated.


Amanda I didn't love The Great Gatsby, but it's not the worst book ever.

The worst book ever is "The Bridges of Madison County."


Jaimee Fitzgerald does have a very eloquent writing style, but the story and characters were poorly developed. I never was "forced" to read this one in high school and a few of my 30-something friends were talking recently about really enjoying the book, so I read it. Maybe it was because people talked it up too much, but I was unimpressed. Definitely overrated.


message 42: by Rachel (last edited Apr 11, 2008 08:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rachel Hermes I don't know what I would have thought of this book had it to been taught well to me. I am a highschool student--a junior. I finished the book this morning.

This isn't Tom Clancy. The story, when taken at face value, isn't that enthralling. The characters are by no means 'deep' or 'real.' This isn't a stoy about granduer. It isn't a story about rich people. It's not even a story about the roaring 20's. It's a story about hope lost.

What makes this book so important and so beautiful and so compelling is that 85 years later, Gatsby still haunts us.

What grips the reader is not the plot but the investment they have in their own green light. Their own hopes and dreams. How couldn't you care?

Many people here are commenting on how short the book is and how quickly they breezed through it. Perhaps I'm just a dumb kid and a slow reader, but I know I never could have loved the book like I do if I'd read it that way. Our teacher encouraged us to buy the book and mark it up, take margin notes and highlight passages. We flipped back and forth, we re-read and we talked.

Maybe it is overrated. I'm not well read enough to say and I've never heard anyone talk it up other than my current teacher. Maybe it's just his enthusiasm getting to me, but I believe him.

I must call in to question any reader who says that Fitzgerald is not a master craftsman of words.

"Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."
--the second page

"tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further…And one fine morning--

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
--the last lines




message 43: by Keri (new)

Keri I have to agree with "Norman"; there are many jewels to be discovered in this reading. When I first read it in high school I thought it was an ok read but when I read it again 10 years later the real story unfolded and nothing but life experience could have made the difference. There is great depth of charachter to be found within the pages and life issues to ponder. If you did not care for the book in high school or early college years I suggest you read it a gain...


♥ Sarah ♥ NO..NO...NO..NO!!! This is one of the greatest books EVER!


♥ Sarah ♥ Macbeth, Are you serious? And you read it in High school? I read it when I was 10! And I'm not lying.


♥ Sarah ♥ OMG, really? I LOVED it!


♥ Sarah ♥ I don't get you people. This is one of the greatest books ever. F. Scott Fitzgerald got so much money and fame from this novel. It was one of the greatest books I've ever read. And I've read it when i was younger than 12.


Norman Keri's experience echoes my own.

On my first read through 'Gatsby' I didn't really engage with the plot or care about the characters; when I picked it up twenty years later I was enthralled by everything - the fine control of language, the characterizations, the gradual 'uncovering' of the title character, and the eventual emergence of Nick, not Gatsby, as the main character.

I now teach the novel to high-school students and find it a perennial favorite. For anyone who likes 'Gatsby' and enjoys comparing one book to another, I recommend "Goodbye, Columbus" by Philip Roth.




Jordan I read it in high school, not as assigned reading, and I still didn't like it.


Marva Whitaker Not the very worst or most boring - but it certainly tried to be.


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