Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Great Gatsby

Pin It
Oh I have been a bad bad blogger.  I am so sorry that I have been MIA for a while but it is a busy time of year at my shop so I have been working long hours and I have no weekends so my blogging (and reading - oh the shame!) has suffered tremendously.  But have no fear I am back and ready to blog!!!!  Woohoo!!

I don't know what in the heck I did in high school but I never got around to reading the books that were on everyone's mandatory summer reading lists.  I have been a reader all my life so if I had been assigned to read any of the classic high school lit I would have happily obliged.  So I guess what I am trying to say is that for 27 years The Great Gatsby has escaped me for some unknown reason (the same goes for Jane Eyre but that is a whole other story).  I do have to say though that I can't picture a high school student actually putting up with The Great Gatsby.  The writing was superb (as is F. Scott Fitzgerald style) and the story was amusing but I don't see my 17 year old self chomping at the bit to finished the assigned chapters each night for homework.  But I did enjoy it now some what, being 10 years older and a little more of a literature aficionado.

Here's the plot (like I really need to tell you all, you probably did your homework), Nick Carraway moves to New York as a young man after fighting in WWI.  He rents a little cottage in Long Island between two HUGE mansion.  One of his neighbors is Jay Gatsby, a young mysterious bachelor that throws large elaborate parties every weekend; after a while Nick and Gatsby become chummy.  Across the bay from Nicks home is another community that houses his very rich cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan.  This is where the drama subtly ensues.  Gatsby and Daisy have a secret saucy past ,in Louisville Kentucky, and they are still in love, Tom is cheating on Daisy and she know it, and Nick is thrown in the middle of the whole mess with his new gal Jordan.  Drama drama drama, until someone gets killed accidentally, the truth about Gatsby and his riches are reviled, and then some one gets murdered.

I LOVED all the references to Louisville Kentucky (my home sweet home - which makes it even stranger that I wasn't required to read this in high school).  I could picture the streets and the Seelbach hotel and the Ohio River.  It made the story a little more personal to me.  And then New York is my secret lover (ssshhh don't tell Louisville), so geographically I have a fondness for this book.  However, I didn't much like any of the characters except for Nick, and there was just too much nasty high society shallow drama for me.  If I were a literary scholar I would probably be able to argue symbolism, themes, and hidden morals (this just seems like a story that is chalked full of them), but I have never been good at deciphering those things out of a story, so I can't tell you if Fitzgerald mastered them successfully (except for the obvious one Money can't by happiness Old Sport) . But I can tell you that I enjoyed (but really didn't love) the quick read, and that I feel much more accomplished for having checked this classic off my To Be Read List.        

BOOK vs. MOVIE: I haven't seen The Great Gatsby on film but it has been done in 1974 starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow (I must get my hands on a copy of that movie)!  And then again in 2000 staring some people I haven't heard of  (except Nick is played by Paul Rudd which I just can't picture him being serious enough to pull that off).

RATING: 3 Stars

3 More Reviews on The Great Gatsby:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald {Audio Book}
ISBN 9781402523076
4 Discs {4 hours 8 minutes}
Narrated by Frank Muller

If you liked this book that check out: Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen 


  1. Welcome back! Nice review. I lived in Louisville for a few years, as well. Liked it a lot!

    Bill ;-)

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

  2. I love this book! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I didn't read it until after high school as well. The Robert Redford adaptation is absolutely wonderful, I highly recommend it. I haven't heard of the 2000 adaptation but I don't think it could have possibly improved on the previous one. :)

  3. I have to agree that I didn't get into it in high school. I have a lists of things that I didn't appreciate then and plan on re-reading soon, and The Great Gatsby is definitely one of them. Thanks for the review!

  4. There's Louisville references? COOOOOOOOOOL! I had been meaning to read it but now I know I must.

  5. I loved Gatsby... but burned out on it a little in college. I took a critical theory class in which we had to look at Gatsby through different critical lenses allll semester!

    Check out THE DOUBLE BIND, a novel by Chris Bohjalian. There are tons of Gatsby references... one of the character's grew up "in the neighborhood." It's a very cool book.

  6. Hi there. I am your latest follower!!! This is definitely a great site, I will have to read more of your posts.

    You can also follow my blog at, I will greatly appreciate it.

  7. I remember reading this in high school and being underwhelmed, but I'd be very interested to read it now (with a few more years under my belt) and see if I feel differently about it.