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The Beautiful and Damned
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Group Reads > Group Read: The Beautiful and Damned




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message 43: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Thank you for moderating, Tim! I really enjoyed this selection (after all) and had a great time answering your questions. Cheers.


message 42: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate (KateKSH) | 664 comments Finished Blood Meridian so I'm plowing through this. It is AMAZING.


Cheryl | 65 comments I didn't officially join this group, but sinceI finished the book tonight, I'll jump in.

I don't think Gloria and Anthony were meant to be redeemed. They were brought up with certain expectations, certain behaviors over looked, and they both ran with the lead they were given. For Gloria, she used her beauty and her near unattainability (think I'm making up words now) to her advantage. She wasn't quite as high in ranking as some of the others characters so she used what she thought she had in power to work her way higher.

I think Anthony had always been just getting by waitng for his grandfather to die.

I also think Dot ran. He was just about broken by then, or maybe Dot showing up was the breaking point so when the chair broke, so too did he.

Have a headache so what is in my head is not translating well to typing. In the end, I think they both got what they want and look where it got them. No sympathy from me. They got what they deserved.

The writing was wonderful - really felt like a voyer watching the train-wreck of their lives.


message 40: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Mackenzie wrote: "What do you think happened to her after Anthony threw the chair? Also, was there really any need for the aside discussion at the end of book one about Beauty's new reincarnation besides for a bit of foreshadowing? It set me up to expect a bit more of something supernatural in the story, but that was the only hint of anything otherworldly. "

Good questions! I think Dot probably ran away, but then again, just throwing a chair might not have solved such a persistent problem with someone with such low self esteem. He could have killed her; I think was capable of that, but I don't know if he was capable of a successful body dump and that part of the story doesn't resurface as I would expect if he'd screwed murder up.

I think the bit about beauty seemed a bit unnecessary, but I guess maybe it set the scene a bit for Gloria's shallowness.


message 39: by Mackenzie, Group Read Curator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mackenzie | 295 comments Mod
The last book, or maybe the overall piece, left me feeling uneasy and sad. The characters did not manage to redeem themselves at all by the end. I almost found myself wanting Anthony and Gloria to beat each other because at least then they would have been doing something. He could not even properly break off with Dot, who is another character who manages to destroy any sympathy one might feel for her. What do you think happened to her after Anthony threw the chair? Also, was there really any need for the aside discussion at the end of book one about Beauty's new reincarnation besides for a bit of foreshadowing? It set me up to expect a bit more of something supernatural in the story, but that was the only hint of anything otherworldly.


message 38: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments This weekend brings us to the end of this book. I found it to be a fairly quick and easy read. I don't know about the rest of you but by the time I was done I really had nothing left to like about the main characters. It left me feeling a little depressed and vaguely unwell! I guess literature, like art, should be uncomfortable.

I won't ask a formal question this week. I would rather hear what the rest of you thought about this book.


message 37: by Mackenzie, Group Read Curator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mackenzie | 295 comments Mod
I felt that both characters were destined to be dissatisfied. Particularly Anthony, whose only motivation seemed to be becoming happy while not doing anything. Their marriage may have gone differently depending on whether they immediately got the money, or knew for certain that it was never coming. The first way, things may have been okay for them, at least for a while until they spent it all, whereas with the second, they would probably have declined more swiftly.

I think, given his characters, that withholding the inheritance was about the only form of strife Fitzgerald could have introduced to keep the story going. They were not going to have a child, since the one instance when Gloria did conceive, she aborted it. Even with later mentions of having a child, it seems more like an idle daydream, or a cry of loneliness, than a real desire to procreate.


message 36: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Yes, I think their marriage would have been just as bad, even if they weren't waiting for the money, because their fundamental characters wouldn't have changed. Mind you, I don't think they would have got married at all if the money wasn't supposed to be on it's way.

The part at the railroad station where Gloria and Anthony have their little scene is the first time I could accept these 2 as real people. As you may know, I thought they were shallow in the first book and didn't really buy the romance. However, I completely bought the little snippets of contempt they held for each other in this section.

I loved the inheritance curve. This makes the book. Disliking the characters in the first part was totally necessary to creating the enjoyment of watching them get what they deserve later on.


message 35: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Good morning, and sorry about the delay folks. Other commitments kept me away for a couple of days. Summer crunch!

For this section of the book I found that reading about what their marriage has become was the focus of the story.

Do you think that they would have had such a horrible marriage if their entire lives weren't on hold waiting for the old man's money?

Secondly...what did you think of the way Fitzgerald threw them a curve with the inheritance?


message 34: by Mackenzie, Group Read Curator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mackenzie | 295 comments Mod
I was just waiting for the next set of questions.


message 33: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
So, where'e everyone at? I hope I didn't scare you off discussion?


message 32: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Oh, so maybe she wants him because he is the only one that doesn't lose all dignity over her?


message 31: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments To my mind she wants everyone to want her. What does she say when they go for a walk, and he walks ahead? Something about him being the only one of her paramours that is self absorbed. I will have to look it up.


message 30: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
...but then why does she want him? The money?


message 29: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Ah... the desire for the unobtainable. That, I can understand.


message 28: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Just as an aside...I would argue that his feeling for Gloria are more of an obession than love per se.


message 27: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Another 2 cents: I love people that society may not deem physically perfect example of beauty, but once I love someone, I find it hard to see any physical flaws, I love the unique character of their features.

However, I there are some people that I don't hold very high opinions of. I can no longer tell if they are physically attractive or not, because my understanding of their internal character over-rides my ability to see their physical selves clearly.

So, to me, the love story aspect of Book 1 feels a little contrived. How can you love someone who has such an ugly inside? It can't be true, can it? Yet, the admiration is not overtly lustful in the way modern fiction would be.

If I'm turning anyone off of the book, please note that I'm on Book 3 now and I think Book 1 sets a necessary foundation and I see the author's insights more regularly in the latter books.


message 26: by Faye (last edited Jul 14, 2012 09:40AM) (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Well, I always think you can choose your attitude, so I'm going to say that yes, these main characters don't have to be so self-absorbed. In fact, some of their peers don't seem as self-absorbed and they are living in the same times and are also wealthy, so that's the proof. However, I'll admit that all that money and privilege could help make the ugly choice easier.

As for question 2, this manipulation was an aspect of Gloria that I had a hard time grasping.

I can't believe Gloria's character in Book 1. She seems one-dimensional. However, if I accept that we are only been shown Gloria through a specific type of men's lense, I can accept the description of her as a partially developed or symbolic character. Which leads me to wonder which is the case, and whether Fitzgerald is the narrator or the narrator is an unnamed character....

If she was as beautiful as the book says she is , I wonder how much manipulation is happening or if the men that are not being selected are just choosing to view it as such because they have no other prideful option to explain her behaviour. If men were falling all over her from every angle wherever she went, but none of them really captured her heart, how should she let them down and escape with a "nice" reputation? It would be a tough spot to be. If you have ever had a time when someone has liked you more than you like them, you know how tough it can be. Multiply this by 4 dozen or more suitors! She turns down flowers, so I can't think she's always leading men on. And if we are only seeing one side of the story, from the injured parties' view, it seems difficult to know her motivations. And I think motive is a factor in determining if someone's behaviour is "bad" or "good." I could admit to her thorough awfulness if I thought we were seeing Gloria from her own viewpoint, but as discussed above, I'm having to look at her character as one being interpreted by others.

On the other hand if her character is just symbolic of the shallowness of physical beauty, then her character has to behave badly to fulfill the role and we don't have to imagine her as a real person.

I agree, the title is perfect.

Though I've written a partial essay, don't worry, I not becoming obsessed with Gloria in RL. I know it's just a novel :)


message 25: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Good Morning! I hope you guys have enjoyed the book. I know we're all at different points, but I will limit my discussion questions to the first section.

I've raised the point before of the selfishness of the times in literature of the nineteen twenties. To me this first section of the book is a very good example of this.

1)Given the wealth, and attitudes of our main characters do you think they have any choice but to be selfish, self absorbed over indulgers?

Now that I've been introduced to Gloria I can see what Faye was saying. I think she's the female side of this coin. She lives her life manipulating men to get what she wants.

2)Do you think this is "bad" behaviour on her part?

BTW...I think the title of this book is very apt!


message 24: by Faye (last edited Jul 11, 2012 11:05PM) (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Goods points, Tim. I'm trying to think more Downton Abbey than present-day Beverly Hills and it helps. I haven't read much written in this era.

BTW, I'm starting Booking 3.


message 23: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Faye wrote: "At the beginning of the book, with the section on beauty being born, I was wondering if Gloria was meant to be a real person or only a representation of something more ethereal. Mid-way through, I ..."

I can't comment on Gloria as I haven't met her yet, but I will say this: look at how they refer to or typify every woman in the book so far. It's a litany of terms like idiot, vapid etc. It's partly the time period, and partly the attitude of the people we're reading about. When you're male and the culture you live in is all about selfishness and pleasing yourself then the women in your life become just another aspect of that. Buy the best clothes, drink the best liquor, and have the prettiest woman on your arm amusing you. Anything internal is immaterial. As a matter of fact I very much doubt they would want anything internal showing itself in their companions.

Once again, I haven't read too far. We'll see if there is progression.


message 22: by Prerna (new) - added it

Prerna (prernainspire) | 2 comments i'm joining in a little late, but i'm sure i'll catch up. looking forward to reading it. already got a copy :)


message 21: by Mackenzie, Group Read Curator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mackenzie | 295 comments Mod
Faye wrote: "At the beginning of the book, with the section on beauty being born, I was wondering if Gloria was meant to be a real person or only a representation of something more ethereal. Mid-way through, I ..."

I'm almost through the first book and I think I see what you mean. Perhaps she's more representative of what men thought women were like back in this period. Plus, if she is the physical representation of Beauty, then couldn't vapid vanity be a characteristic of such a person?


message 20: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
At the beginning of the book, with the section on beauty being born, I was wondering if Gloria was meant to be a real person or only a representation of something more ethereal. Mid-way through, I think she's meant to be a real person, but I'm having a really hard time suspending belief. She seems too shallow to fathom. It could be the problem of not understanding the era, or it could be the problem of a male author not doing a great job of a female part, or both...

I keep trying to vision Gloria and coming up with Paris Hilton.

Don't get me wrong though, I like the quality of the sentences, and I think it's fine microscope on a relationship (more on that later, I'm sure), but I just don't like these people.


message 19: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Faye wrote: "So... are all these characters supposed to be unlikeable?"

I'm about fifty pages in after reading tonight. I had forgetton how much I enjoy Fitzgerald's writing. His method of portraying conversation and character always gets to me.

I actually like the characters so far! I think they portray the time period very well. The selfishness of the period. I'll be interested to see how they progress.


message 18: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate (KateKSH) | 664 comments Off to download a kindle version . . . hope I can keep up!


message 17: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Welcome everyone! Here we go. I'm starting the book this evening.


Brittany Seyb | 2 comments Hi, I'm Brittany and I love this choice of Fitzgerald.


message 15: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
So... are all these characters supposed to be unlikeable?


message 14: by Risa (new)

Risa (mari08) | 3 comments I've always wanted to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald since reading The Great Gatsby in High School. I don't know why I never got around to it before but now is as good a time as any. I'll join in!


message 13: by Figen (new)

Figen | 25 comments Hello I will
join the reading. Tim, thank you for Wiki.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michelleornat) new to the group as well. but haven't read Fitzgerald in years...no time better than now!


message 11: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Holy smokes...Keener! I am slogging through Last of the Mohicans at the moment and looking forward to getting into this one.


message 10: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Confessions, already: I'm about half way book 2.


message 9: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Welcome!


message 8: by Imogen (new) - added it

Imogen Simone | 1 comments New to this group but I will try to have a read!


message 7: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Awesome! Thanks for mentioning that. It might help some who want to join in.


message 6: by Mekerei (last edited Jul 02, 2012 03:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mekerei | 204 comments I'm off on holiday in two days. Hoping for lots of reading time and now I have another book to add to my list - yeah!

Just went to Amazon to The Beautiful and Damned for my kindle and its free!


message 5: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
I'll be reading, too. I'm glad this was the alternate book selection because I already have this book on my shelf!


message 4: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
I'll join in for this one, Tim. Cheers.


message 3: by Tim (last edited Jul 02, 2012 07:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


message 2: by Tim (last edited Jul 02, 2012 07:10AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Group Read Schedule for The Beautiful and Damned

Book I pages 3 - 128
July 9th to 15th with questions posted on 14th

Book II pages 131 - 309
July 16th to 22nd with questions posted on the 21st

Book III pages 313 - 449
July 23rd to 31st with questions posted on the 28th


message 1: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Weakley | 396 comments Greetings again folks!

Simple notice at this point.

We will be reading this book by F. Scott Fitzgerald over the month of July. It's a larger book, some 449 pages, and after reading The Paris wife I've been looking forward to getting to it.

The read will begin on the 9th of July. This will give people time to get a copy of the book in their hot little hands.

I'll post the schedule shortly so we can see the pace.


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