Claire's Reviews > This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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's review
Mar 24, 2011

it was amazing
Read in March, 2011

I don't really understand all the average reviews this book is getting... i LOVED it. After reading the whole thing, of course. For the first two chapters, I really detested Amory as a main character. Completely egotistical, shallow, and wanna-be aristocratic. I felt like F. Scott was just kissing the asses of all the upper-crest socialites that read his work. It wasn't until Amory reached his sophomore year of college that I began to love this book, and after that point I couldn't put it down.

Amory goes from being a little spoiled prat who is self-obsessed and completely vain, to a "personage" of intellectualism and depth. Though he never loses his selfishness or his vanity, he becomes a much more relatable person. I enjoyed watching him grow from an egotistical prick who thought that he was god's greatest gift to earth, to the realization that he was just as susceptible to heartbreak and loss and poverty and mediocrity as everyone else. I feel like that is a theme many people can relate to- growing up, going through high school and college thinking they're invincible, but realizing once adulthood is reached that the world can be a scary place. However, Amory overcomes this harsh reality by knowing himself, his strengths and weaknesses. Yes, Amory is still fundamentally selfish, but he makes the argument that transcending that selfishness is what will make him whole. I think that that is an important argument- that selfishness is not necessarily bad, it's a part of human nature- but if we realize it, we can overcome it and be good to others.

I also loved how F. Scott varied his writing style. He systematically shifts from typical novel, to an act in a play, to stream of consciousness prose, to poetry. I read many reviews by people who hated the poems- I loved them. He really is a talented and accessible poet (especially for me, I don't know too much about poetry, but I really enjoyed his style.). What else to say? Amory isn't perfect, and perhaps the book isn't either, but I found it well-written, and truly one of the best things I've read in a very long time.

I can't believe he wrote it at only 24! NO wonder he is a great American classic.
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