Joey Woolfardis's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2016, bookshelf, ce20, masculine, septic

Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

I am a Classics person, but not a Modern Classics reader. I prefer the Victorian and pre-Victorian Classics and Modern Classics have never really interested me. However, even before I began this Reading Challenge I knew that I needed to change that. I'm still not overly enamoured with Modern Classics (though they tend to be a lot shorter than Victorian Classics are, which can come as a relief) but I am thoroughly enjoying the journey through the genre.

This book was quite a disappointment and not a surprise at the same time. I knew I wasn't going to love it before I went in to it, though I don't know why. I had no preconceptions of this book: I've never seen the film and I haven't ever read a blurb about it. My copy doesn't have one. I just knew I wouldn't love it.

I didn't think I wouldn't like it, though. I can't really think of any specifics, I just didn't like the plot, the characters or the setting at all. There were some fun moments, some dire moments and just a whole lot of dullness going around. It's hard to really enjoy something if you don't feel any sympathy or empathy with the characters, not even mentioning that ever-present idea that we need to identify with characters, too. I also found that this book wasn't particularly American, or particularly 20s, or particularly anything at all, really. It was just a kind of story with a kind of moral to it.

The one thing I will say about this: F. Scott is a wonderful writer. I kind of thought this before I went in, but I never really knew until I found I was re-reading sentences over and over again just to re-live them. Not what they were saying, or what they were telling, or showing, or portraying, or anything like that, but just the words used and in which order. Sometimes it felt like magic. I will definitely read more F. Scott, but this one really isn't great at all. But that's okay. Most Classics aren't that great, anyway, we just pretend they are most of the time.


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Reading Progress

October 25, 2015 – Shelved
February 24, 2016 – Started Reading
February 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Liz Janet I am so glad that someone else did not like this book either. It is not that great, there are better American literature books out there.


Mario MJ Perron Hi Saorise, thank you for such a beautifully written review. I suspect that there are many reasons not to like the characters, such as the odd attitudes of entitlement exhibited by the ultra wealthy. I can understand how the dogmatic americanism here that is only enhanced by the romanticized views of the greatness of this era can be annoying to some. I even see how Fitzgerald's depiction of women can be seen as misogynistic. However, it is in its essence a romantic novel. It will be packed end to end with nostalgic sentiment and perceived idealism. It is placed in a time in American history that many Americans see as very, very romantic. I guess all I'm trying to say, is that it may be enjoyed from other perspectives, including as a study of collective insanity in a country's self-vision. Much like Dickens, Kafka, or Tolstoy... I, and I speak only for myself, enjoyed their works more when I sought to understand the author's experience at the time of writing.


Clarissa Exactly how I felt about it.


Henry Avila Wonderful review.


✨    jamieson   ✨ This is my favourite classic ever but I think lots of people can't get into it because of the characters


Andrew Smith Excellent review, Joey. This wasn't a book I much cared for either - a real dissapointment, in fact.


message 7: by Shahad (new)

Shahad takleef ”Most classics aren’t that Great , anyway . We just pretend they are most of the time “
Haha this is particularly the truest thing I’ve read in a while .


message 8: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel It's odd how classics happen. Often they're not much liked at the time, and they're generally not much liked in hindsight. But somehow they emerge as 'classics' that everybody has to read because everybody else did...


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