Madeline's Reviews > Tender Is the Night

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Aug 01, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: the-list, ugh
Read on August 01, 2011

To be fair, this really wasn't Fitzgerald's fault.

I love The Great Gatsby and I love The Beautiful and the Damned. And, as my dedication to The List proves, I love reading about rich white people and their Rich White People Problems. But everything about this book rubbed me the wrong way, for the following reasons (none of which, as I said, are Fitzgerald's fault. Well, maybe the last one.):

I first started this as an audiobook, which is a medium that I'm trying to get into thanks to my 40-minute commute to work. The problem is, it might be time to admit that I'm just bad at audiobooks. When the words aren't printed on the page in front of me, my mind tends to wander and suddenly I realize that the narrator is still talking and I haven't been paying attention for the past five minutes and am totally lost. This is a problem, particularly with this book, when you really have to pay attention to every word. But all of that wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that...

This particular recorded version sucked. First, I was completely misled about the plot because the synopsis on the audiobook made it sound like Rosemary was the protagonist, so once I got to Book Two and the narrator kept talking about Nicole I didn't understand what was happening. Also, the particular narrator for this audiobook was awful. His voices were just bad: grating and stupid, and I couldn't understand why he made all the characters sound so plummy and old. Everyone in this book sounded like they were sixty, which is simply wrong.

After soldiering on to about the 3/4 point, I admitted defeat and found a print copy of the book at the library and started reading where the audiobook had left off. I was spared the annoying narration, and by this point had figured out who the protagonists really were, but I still hated the book. And here's why:

I don't care about these characters. Usually I can find some sympathy for Fitzgerald's fascinating and damaged people, but not here. It was probably a result of my bad experience with the audiobook for the majority of the story, but for whatever reason I could not muster so much as an ounce of sympathy or appreciation for these selfish, stupid, rich jerks who can't seem to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize how thoroughly they've fucked up their lives. I found myself wishing that all the characters would get shipped to the Congo so they could learn what real suffering looks like, and then I knew that the book could never be redeemed in my eyes.

I'm sorry, Scott. I think you're a genius, I really do, but I have never struggled so much to get through the final twenty pages of a book as I did with yours. Maybe I'll return to this story in twenty years or so, and hopefully then I'll read this under better circumstances. Again, it's really not your fault.

Except the misogyny. That is 100% your fault, you smug self-satisfied patronizing jackass.
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Reading Progress

08/01/2011 page 30
10.0% ""Like most women, she liked to be told how she should feel." Really, Scott? REALLY?" 1 comment
08/03/2011 page 80
25.0% "In a massively miscalculated attempt at cuteness, Nicole and Dick sometimes sign their names as the combined "Dickole." It's getting very hard for me to take this book seriously." 2 comments
08/07/2011 page 260
83.0% "It is astonishing how little I care about any of these characters."
02/13/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Selena (new)

Selena are you persevering until the end?

Madeline Almost done. Since I abandoned the audiobook version (which was awful) I'm liking it better, but it's too late to be totally redeemed.

message 3: by Elle (new)

Elle I definitely can't focus on audibooks. I have never tried cause the minute I start playing music I zone out and next thing I know I've play 50 games of Solitaire and listened to an album!

message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul As always, enjoyed reading your review, Madeline. And I'd agree with you on the audiobook comments - I can't fucking stand them, personally, because I tend to start reading something else and then it's like I have two word streams in my head. I know I have two hemispheres for my brain, but they work in tandem, not independent of each other.

What's really annoying is when a piece of writing comes out from a writer or series that you really enjoy but it is only release in audiobook format (Black Library, I'm looking at you).

David I really think this book suffers from its marketing. The blurb is always "glitzy, hedonism, cocktails, Riviera, movie star!" but it's about Dick's talent and Nicole's mental health.

message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky I LOVE audiobooks, but they are definitly not for everyone, and a narrator can make or break a book. I listen to a lot of Librivox though, so I'm pretty lenient.

Still. I have such a hard time with Fitzgerald. I've been considering trying to reread it now that I'm older, and more appreciative of actual literature, but I still have this terrible sour taste from before. I just havent managed to drag myself around to him again.

Madeline Dad? When did you get a Goodreads account?

Madeline (Seriously though - don't like my reviews? Then stop reading them.)

message 9: by James (new)

James Madeline wrote: "Dad? When did you get a Goodreads account?"

This is a perfect example of why we need to be able to 'like' comments.

message 11: by Becky (new)


Madeline I liked your reviews, but evidently, writing snarky comments on bad modern YA fiction is about the extent of your ability.

You're good at making fun of bad YA fiction (where, amusingly enough, your entire shtick is being "a smug, self-satisfied jackass"), but serious literature seems beyond your mental acumen.

Stick to YA, Madeline; serious literature is evidently a bit too smart and mature for you.

I'm having a little trouble identifying your thesis statement here. Perhaps you could repeat it a few more times for me?

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