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The Great Gatsby
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > June 2013 - The Great Gatsby

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message 1: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat (katzombie) | 2478 comments Discussion thread for The Great Gatsby


message 2: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments I read The Great Gatsby in November and remember it enough to discuss it. I saw the movie last week and thought that it stayed pretty close to the book. I'll hold off on making any comments till I get back next week. That way others will have had a chance to read.


Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I read 'The Great Gatsby' 3 weeks ago in preparation for seeing the film. Sadly, I still haven't seen it yet. I am looking forward to discussing it with you all but I too will hold off until some more of you have finished it.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished it late last year, and will chip in, I thought it was a good read.


Ava Catherine | 4258 comments I love the book, but I have not seen the latest edition of the movie. I hope to see it soon.
I have always loved Fitzgerald. I love the 1920s.


message 6: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18188 comments Just started The Great Gatsby. I won't be able to comment on here until after I've finished the book as I am going to be offline for a few days while I'm on holiday. Will join the discussion at the weekend.


Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments Read it today. Am always in awe when I'm reading books about the lavishly rich and how they behave. The book dates itself a bit, but still holds its own. I'll hold off on commenting more until others pipe up.


Marnie (marnie19) | 2019 comments I would love to attend one of Gatsby's parties. I think the style of the 1920s and the obscene wealth would be a treat to see. Then I would like to come right back to my nice normal life. 24 hours is probably all I could take- then the self absorbed partiers would drive me nuts. :)


message 9: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 11, 2013 08:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments It is interesting that Fitzgerald felt like a scholarship case when he went to Princeton because he was surrounded by all the really wealthy boys, and Scott's aunt sent him. He felt that his parents were failures, and he was driven to be successful. When he and Zelda met terribly rich people, he was taking mental notes on their lives for his characters.


message 10: by Lynn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lynn | 2609 comments Marnie wrote: "I would love to attend one of Gatsby's parties. I think the style of the 1920s and the obscene wealth would be a treat to see. Then I would like to come right back to my nice normal life. 24 hours ..."

Definitely would love to go to one of the parties but I know I wouldn't be able to cope with the majority of people, if anything like Fitzgerald's characters.

The self absorbed and frivolous characters made it difficult for me to love this book. Like yes, with the interesting storyline and excellent descriptive writing. However most of the characters just irritated me too much to really love the book.


message 11: by Lisa (last edited Jun 12, 2013 06:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I loved this book because of the way the characters were. To me, the story was a cautionary fable about how wealth can sometimes bring out the worst in people and how money can buy you many things but not necessarily happiness and I think the characters Fitzgerald created reflected that. I did not like them as people but I thought they worked well within the context of the novel and helped to make the novel what it was. I felt that they had become 'corrupted' by money if you like, the exceptions being Nick and Gatsby, and only saw importance in material things and, in a way, were destroying their lives through their shallowness and selfishness because money and status became more important to them than friends, family or romance.


message 12: by Lynn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lynn | 2609 comments Lisa wrote: "To me, the story was a cautionary fable about how wealth can sometimes bring out the worst in people and how money can buy you many things but not necessarily happiness and I think the characters Fitzgerald created reflected that. I did not like them as people but I thought they worked well within the context of the novel and helped to make the novel what it was. "

Totally agree, I just couldn't get past it to really love the book :)


message 13: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments Connie wrote: "It is interesting that Fitzgerald felt like a scholarship case when he went to Princeton because he was surrounded by all the really wealthy boys, and Scott's aunt sent him. He felt that his parent..."

Would you say that the book, especially the character of Nick, was based on Fitzgerald? I'm familiar with the name but don't know enough about him to have made that connection when I read it.


message 14: by Lisa (last edited Jun 12, 2013 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Lynn wrote: "Lisa wrote: "To me, the story was a cautionary fable about how wealth can sometimes bring out the worst in people and how money can buy you many things but not necessarily happiness and I think the..."

I understand where you are coming from completely Lynn. They are certainly not the most likeable characters ever to grace our book pages! Cathy and Heathcliff from 'Wuthering Heights' are the same: flawed, quite selfish and fairly unlikeable and a lot of people I know don't like the story because of them. I love it, it's one of my all-time favourites along with 'The Great Gatsby'. I seem to be drawn to the books with unlikeable characters! Lol.


message 15: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments I thought the book was about obsession and excess. The characters were all obsessed about something.

Gatsby, although seemingly to be one of the more removed from the perversity of the people around him was the one who was the most corrupt, if that's the correct word. He went to any length to rise above the poverty of his youth. He was more obsessed than in love with Daisy, doing just about anything to get her back in his life.

Daisy was truly self absorbed and I'm not sure if she ever understood what love was. I thought Fitzgerald summed it up perfectly when he called them "Careless people".


message 16: by Lisa (last edited Jun 12, 2013 08:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Janice wrote: "I thought the book was about obsession and excess. The characters were all obsessed about something.

Gatsby, although seemingly to be one of the more removed from the perversity of the people a..."


I agree Janice. I don't think Daisy knew what love was either. She was in love with material things and the status that she felt they brought her. Gatsby was one of the more likeable characters but he wasn't without faults. For me, through his obsessional love for Daisy, he represented the American Dream, a dream which, unfortunately, did not come true and was ultimately unattainable.


message 17: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 12, 2013 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments Janice wrote: "Connie wrote: "It is interesting that Fitzgerald felt like a scholarship case when he went to Princeton because he was surrounded by all the really wealthy boys, and Scott's aunt sent him. He felt ..."

I see a great deal of Scott Fitzgerald in Nick's character.
Like Gatsby, however, Scott was obsessed with Zelda. She was the love of his life. So he drew from his personal life for both characters.

He said that wealth was wasted on really rich people who inherited their money because they didn't appreciate it.


Marnie (marnie19) | 2019 comments It was because the characters were so flawed that I enjoyed the book. It was a morality tale where it seemed everyone paid for their bad behavior. Except maybe Daisey- she might have been too shallow to appreciate the sadness of her life.


message 19: by Jenn (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenn Saam | 9 comments I read the book and didn't like it at all but then I saw the movie and it changed my opinion of the book. While I was reading I just couldn't get into it but now that I have seen it come alive I love the story. That doesn't happen very often.


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Jenn wrote: "I read the book and didn't like it at all but then I saw the movie and it changed my opinion of the book. While I was reading I just couldn't get into it but now that I have seen it come alive I l..."

I still haven't seen the film. I really must get around to it soon.

I wasn't really into the whole 1920's era before I read 'The Great Gatsby' but it's fair to say that reading Gatsby changed my view completely. I am fascinated by the era now and want to read more books that are set during that time-frame. I recently bought The Diviners because it's set during 'The Great Gatsby' era. The storyline sounds good too but it was the 1920's setting that drew me to it more than anything.


Cathie (catitude) | 915 comments I finished the book and then had to let my thoughts about it sit for awhile. The writing is beautiful.

In my preconceived notions I never saw that storyline happening!

The whole world of wealth seemed so shallow, so callous; everybody feeding on each other's gain.

Having said the above, I loved it and while reading it was wondering why I had avoided it all these years. I thought it would be boring!! (I know...me and what I thinks is very seldom reality.) I had no idea of the twists, and the climax completely blew me away. Somewhere in my head I just thought Gatsby went away broken hearted and lived miserable forever after. (And that is probably what would have happened if Fitzgerald hadn't written so much more).

My review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I think all the unpleasantness can be found in any class of life, but the rich can exemplify their bad characteristics so much more; they don't need to cover their shame because money can allow you to get away with the uglies.

I think Gatsby's parties are akin to the hollywood parties and social life nowadays. Everybody wishes they could be part of the in crowd and most would jump at the chance to attend and be seen in the presence of those that other people think are so important and interesting. And I think we fantasize about these parties and gatherings because they are outside our own norm. I know for myself I would definitely lack the social skills needed to stay out of trouble and I would be overwhelmed with the levels of deceit, callousness and shallowness. Way too much backbiting, sniping, judgement and self-absorption. It's funny, because while everyone is partying with lots of other "wonderful" people, nobody really cares anything about anyone else. I don't see anyone in this book being a part of anything ... probably the reason for the need of all the "extra" loving.

Having said all the above, yep, I'd go, just as I would to one of the hip nowaday happenings, because after all, not everyone gets THAT opportunity do they...lol, see, I can so be a snob and yes, I would come home and gossip :-) Basically I think we are all alike. Which is why Jay Gatsby is the figure idolized by so many; he doesn't gossip, he is definitely in the midst of the privileged few but stays in the shadows and he is in love with someone other than himself.

Can you tell that I really loved this book! :-)


message 22: by Lynn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lynn | 2609 comments Lisa wrote: "I still haven't seen the film. I really must get around to it soon."

You should, it stays pretty much true to the book and is visually stunning so I felt it only improved the experience.


message 23: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments @Cathie and Lisa - ignore my comment in Camp Happy. I should have come here first. Hehehe!

Cathie, I really liked your review and your comments here.

@Marnie - You've hit the nail on the head when you said that Daisy was too shallow to appreciate the sadness of her life.

@Jenn - I've seen both movies, Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio. I preferred the Robert Redford version better because the music was authentic to the period. The new version had contemporary music which really detracted from the feel of the roaring twenties.


Cathie (catitude) | 915 comments Janice wrote: "@Cathie and Lisa - ignore my comment in Camp Happy. I should have come here first. Hehehe!

Cathie, I really liked your review and your comments here.

@Marnie - You've hit the nail on the head..."


Awww, thanks Janice :-)

Marnie - I agree with Janice; it's a perfect description of Daisy!


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

When I read it, I thought that there were a number of contrasts set up. You've got solid, sensible, dependable Nick and you've got Gatsby, who has his head in the clouds - especially when it comes to Daisy. I thought he was in love with the idea of what Daisy had been, not who Daisy actually was. Daisy herself was shallow and lazy, in that she would take the path of least resistance. She was saying she'd go with Gatsby when he first suggested it, but when it actually came to doing something about it, she wasn't prepared to put herself out in the least.

It's quite a short book, and yet is packs an awful lot in. But it's quite sparsely written - there's not a spare word in there. I thought some writers of overblown epics ought to read it to see how good it can be when an author writes concisely.


Ava Catherine | 4258 comments I love the 1920s, and I have always loved this book. It captures so much of the era. It is difficult for us to understand looking back how risqué the 20s were, but for a girl to wear a dress that showed her legs and bob her hair was scandalous. Prohibition was the law (1920-33) in the US. The very, very rich had their own bootleggers. As with so many books, we have to step back in history to get the full impact of the story.


Jkmays I really wanted to like this book, but I did not like the characters and that made it difficult for me to like the book. I did appreciate the writing...he really made me see what was happening. I think I did read this once upon a time...in high school...not sure what I thought of it then, but it did sound vaguely familiar as I moved through the book.


message 28: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18188 comments I finished this while I was on holiday. This is the first classic that I have read which I felt drawn in to immediately and didn't have any problem with the language or understanding it. It was written really well and I liked the style of it. A quick read too.

I didn't know much about the plot of the story before reading it - just that it focused on the 1920s era of rich people having parties so I was really surprised with the twists and turns and how the story panned out.

I agree that the characters weren't really likeable but I liked that about it and I also liked the message behind it - that money doesn't buy you happiness. I also liked the romance/relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. I don't generally do romance and prefer books that portray the darker side of romance (i.e. Wuthering Heights which Lisa already mentioned further up the thread) so Daisy and Gatsby ticked that box for me; it was definitely more of an obsession for Gatsby.

Someone mentioned earlier that everyone ended up at a lose except Daisy but I think she also lost too - she did after all (view spoiler)

(view spoiler)

I haven't seen the film but would really like to now.


message 29: by Dasia (new)

Dasia | 3 comments I really like reading The Great Gatsby, I'll hold off commenting on it till others begin.


Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments Marnie wrote: "It was because the characters were so flawed that I enjoyed the book. It was a morality tale where it seemed everyone paid for their bad behavior. Except maybe Daisey- she might have been too shall..."

Yes, Daisy literally got away with murder and she was too protected and self-absorbed to even acknowledge this.


Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments I agree it was so sad those folks who used Gatsy couldn't even show up for his funeral!


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments I have just started as it finally became available but the teasers in the above comments make me want to get cracking with it.


Miranda (mirandab) | 19 comments I finished this one this morning, and I really liked it. And I think the only thing keeping me at "really liking" it instead of "loving" it is that I couldn't read it all together (I kept having to put it down to do other things). But that's not the book's fault, of course.

Anyway, I agree with what a lot of the other posters said in regards to the characters. It was a bit difficult to like them because of the way they tended to act. Tom, in particular, stood out as a very unlikable character for me. I think Daisy would have redeemed herself for me if (view spoiler)

What I really liked about the book was the writing itself. I thought some of Fitzgerald's descriptions were fantastic. In particular, I liked the description of Gatsby's smile at the first party Nick attends, and the way Fitzgerald describes Nick's reaction to Gatsby's story while they're driving in chapter four. Oh, and I loved this line: "So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star." (chapter 6) I don't even know why I like that line so much; it just kind of resonated with me for some reason.


message 34: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 15, 2013 05:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments I think the fact that the characters are so flawed makes the story compelling for me. Having money certainly doesn't make you happy; it just means money isn't one of your problems. We see this happening in the book because they do have problems. The parties seem to almost become an attempt to escape reality for some of the characters.


message 35: by Lori (last edited Jun 21, 2013 07:15PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lori (glitzyrebel) | 433 comments I liked this one slightly better on the second read but it had more to do with the grandeur of the movie than the actual book.


Travis (travistousant) | 6011 comments I read this a while back and really felt it to be a huge waste of my time. While the writing itself is fine to me the story was pointless. I also find many people who love this book have a general interest in the 20's. I don't. I prefer more world war 2 era stories.


message 37: by Sarah, Moderator (last edited Jun 16, 2013 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18188 comments I was answering some of the questions on the never-ending book quiz about The Great Gatsby and one of the questions asked what was a metaphor for God in the book and the answer was the billboard. I wondered what people thought of this. I've being thinking back over the book and funnily enough I can't even remember a billboard being mentioned let alone thinking about what it signified.


Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 981 comments Jenn wrote: "I read the book and didn't like it at all but then I saw the movie and it changed my opinion of the book. While I was reading I just couldn't get into it but now that I have seen it come alive I l..."

That's what I think might happen to me too... I have finished the book this morning and still haven't seen any of the adaptations (will try to see the 1974 one with Robert Redford and pass on the more recent one). The book did not "talk" to me, but I am pretty sure the characters will be more alive if I see the movie. I might try to reread the book in a few weeks/months after seeing the movie.

As for my impressions of the book, I hate being told events rather than shown, so the style was pretty hard for me. I think Gatsby is fascinating and I hated almost all the other characters. I don't mind flaws in heroes, but I want to feel something other than indifference about what happens to them...


message 39: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Sarah wrote: "I was answering some of the questions on the never-ending book quiz about The Great Gatsby and one of the questions asked what was a metaphor for God in the book and the answer was the billboard. I..."

I do remember the billboard being mentioned a couple of times. I think it had a huge pair of eyes on it (if memory serves me correct). I hadn't really thought about what it signified before but now I have had a think about it, I can see why it would be thought of as being a metaphor for God because it sees everything and therefore knows everything too. The all-seeing, all-knowing God.


message 40: by Lynn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lynn | 2609 comments Sarah wrote: "I've being thinking back over the book and funnily enough I can't even remember a billboard being mentioned let alone thinking about what it signified. "

It's very prominent in the movie.


message 41: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 16, 2013 11:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments Sarah wrote: "I was answering some of the questions on the never-ending book quiz about The Great Gatsby and one of the questions asked what was a metaphor for God in the book and the answer was the billboard. I..."

The first time the billboard is mentioned is the beginning of Chapter 2. It features the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburge, which are on a billboard overlooking George Wilson's garage. They seem to be "all seeing and god-like" to the characters in the novel, who do not seem to have any (or few) morals or spirituality. Michaelis, who is a common man, is the only character who shows any charity or unselfish spirit in the book. He and, to some extent, Nick are the only characters who come out unscathed after the events of the plot unfold. (view spoiler)

The book demonstrates how the "old money" does not accept "new money" and those who from the old social classes are cruel to those from lower classes and new moneyed classes. "Old money" people like Daisy and Tom are "careless people" and easily discard others when they tire of them or find them of no use to them any longer.

Mildred was an object to Tom. Mildred, however, was materialistic and wanted to improve her social status, which she erroneously thought she could do through Tom.(view spoiler)

Gatsby lived in a dream world. The parties were a means to find and talk to Daisy; however, when Daisy finally came to one of his parties, she disliked the party. Gatsby wanted to impress Daisy, but she was "old money," and he was "new money." Daisy was being cruel to Gatsy and just playing games with him. For example, when she kissed him and said "I love you" in front of everyone when Tom had gone to talk to Mildred on the telephone, she was not sincere. Daisy and Tom belonged together, and that is why she betrayed Gatsy by refusing to answer when he told Tom he and Daisy were going away together, etc.


message 42: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17069 comments I remember reading it and loving the writing. The story was enjoyable, and slightly heartbreaking, but it was the writing that made me give it 5 stars.

Thinking about it now, I would probably revise it down. As even though I really enjoyed it while I read it, it hasn't impacted my world like other 5 star books have. I only think about it when there is a blatant reference to the book, not otherwise.

But, I think that that is because I read it as it came. I didn't realise there was this layer upon layer of metaphor (missed the billboard too). I wonder if I went back and read it now, knowing the story and looking at the next level of the book if that would help. But then, I feel that if a book takes more than one reading to get it...

Also. Just for the record. I never liked Daisy.


Ava Catherine | 4258 comments She is a spoiled brat, isn't she?


message 44: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments A princess!


message 45: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 16, 2013 06:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments When Daisy's daughter was born and she turned her head to the wall and cried and then said something about hoping "she grows up to be a fool," I wanted to slap Daisy. She is the fool!

( I have forgotten the exact words.)


message 46: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 48782 comments She pretty much ignored her daughter, didn't she? At least it seemed that way because there was no interaction with the child in the book. She was just mentioned.


Cecily | 576 comments Connie wrote: "When Daisy's daughter was born and she turned her head to the wall and cried and then said something about hoping..."

The fact that the daughter is mentioned just twice (I think), near the start and near the end serves to emphasise the sadness of how irrelevant she is.


Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments I remember Tom's delirium after his wife's death and him saying something about God is watching. He had come to believe the doctor's eyes on the billboard were God's eyes.

It seemed typical that the very rich of that era would give birth to children and then turn them over to nannies for their care. Daisy's child was just someone to dress up like a doll in pretty clothes and bring to display once in a while. Pathetic.


message 49: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17069 comments I was watching Downtown Abbey the other night and this exchange came up (Violet is Maggie Smith's character so you know the tone):
Isobel: "Were you a very involved mother with Robert and Rosamund?"
Violet: "Does it surprise you?"
Isobel: "A bit. I'd imagined them surrounded by nannies and governesses, being starched and ironed to spend an hour with you after tea."
Violet: "Yes, but it was an hour every day."

It made me laugh at the time, but on reflection, not only is it true but very sad. So I'm with you Debra.


Snoozie Suzie (snooziesuzie) | 937 comments I listened to this last year and gave it two stars. The audio was good in that the narrator did extremely well in setting the scene with his accent, and I could imagine the parties etc (good writing by FSF), but I like others couldn't like the people and so I couldn't like the story. It just didn't hold me in (like a pair of Bridget Jones pants does!!?). I agree with what many of you are saying, but it just didn't float my boat. But the descriptions were do good I could imagine being there and as I love that era and the dress, etc of that time, that part I liked.
A jumble of a comment yes, but it seems to have jumbled us as a group into likers and non-likers. I won't say haters as I don't think it's a book that could be hated...


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