Friday

Book review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby- F Scott Fitzgerald
Beautiful cover of The Great Gatsby
This review is going to need a bit of a back story. I first read The Great Gatsby in sixth form as it was on the syllabus. I found it dull, superficial and I don't think I retained a single snippet from it, except the scene where we first meet Daisy (and I think I only remember that because it was illustrated on the cover). Then Baz Luhrmann released his film adaptation and I fell in love. It was the most exciting film I'd seen in a long time and it really made me think. It seemed that the time was right to try reading the book again, so Rich bought me an absolutely beautiful copy for Christmas.

For the first time, however, I'm sitting down to write this review and I have no idea how to put my thoughts into words. I'm really not sure how I feel about the book, so this might be a little incoherent. 
The Great Gatsby extract
Let's start by outlining the story. Our narrator, Nick Carraway, moves into a house next to a huge mansion owned by Jay Gatsby, a mysterious man who holds massively lavish parties every weekend. Opposite the bay on which their houses stand lives Nick's cousin Daisy, with her husband Tom. It transpires that Daisy and Gatsby were once in love and, when they reunite 5 years later, Daisy begins to fall for Gatsby again. Tom, seeing this turn in his wife, does everything in his power to stop from losing her, despite the fact he has his own mistress. 

Initial thoughts: I much preferred it this time around. I could relate to the characters more. Both Daisy, Tom and Gatsby had elements that resonated with me. I was totally indifferent to Nick, but I think that works well. He's disconnected from the tangled web and relates the events without the cloud of emotion. I know a lot of people hate Daisy for being foolish, selfish and superficial but I felt for her. I think I needed a little more life experience to really appreciate the characters. It's difficult to understand Gatsby's longing without experiencing heartbreak for yourself. 
Vintage Classics hardcover edition of The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald's writing is absolutely beautiful. His final sentence is the most stunning finale to a book I have ever read: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we will always be pushed back into our own pasts, forced to relive them over again. It's definitely a feeling I've experienced, and I'm sure many other people have: That uncontrollable feeling of history repeating itself.

However, I found it difficult to connect to the story. I was never entirely certain of Gatsby's backstory, but maybe that was the point. Perhaps he was supposed to be a little vague, just beyond reach. There were parts that, if I'm honest, I might not have understood had I not seen the film first, and perhaps this is part of the reason why I struggled before. Furthermore, I found the final half-chapter or so surplus. It just trailed off and became a little tedious. Not every end needs tying. 

I'm very glad I read this again. I think I liked it or, at least, I definitely didn't dislike it. It's a beautiful, sad, hopeless book. If nothing else, it's given me a lot to think about! 


Buy The Great Gatsby here


Affiliate links have been used in this post

16 comments :

  1. Ah, my favourite book, I'm glad you got around to reviewing it! You make some great points though, the ending seems a little, err, is pointless the right word? Irrelevant? The movie ended it perfectly, leaving out all this later stuff, despite the fact they did film those last scenes and chose to cut them out. Character empathy has always been a problem for me, I'm usually ALWAYS siding with the villain, but for once, I couldn't abide Tom, I'd always be flicking past his lines because I just despise the man, he has absolutely nothing likeable about him, swooping into Daisy's life and being a completely non-existent father (although is she really an attentive mother anyway?), he just baffles me. What a gorgeous copy though, I need me one of those! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very pointless! I tend to empathise with villains too!

      Delete
  2. I've been reading to read this for a while- me too from seeing the film, this review makes me even more curious about the book now! I might buy it to read on holiday. Great post (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know how you get on with it!

      Delete
  3. Lovely review. I am currently reading TGG for my A Level course and I really love it! The first time I read it, I didn't really like it but I think it is one of those books which get better every time you read it. :)
    theemeralddove21.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so too! That's what I've found.

      Delete
  4. I read it last year for 5th year english and hated it so much until I seen the film and sort of began to love it but now doing it again in 6th year I love it. I don't think I appreciated it as much the first time as I did when I reread it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you need to read it a couple of times before you appreciate it!

      Delete
  5. this is probably my favorite book! I fell so in love with the movie that I just had to read the book and it didnt disappoint! :D Great review! Id find it really hard to write down how I really felt for this book!
    Sofia x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you ever give it a go, I'd love to read it!

      Delete
  6. I had to read it for A Level and after taking two exams in it (fluffed up the first AS exam, oops) I absolutely loathe it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand that! Studying can kill your love for a book!

      Delete
  7. Aside from A Tale of Two Cities, I think that The Great Gatsby may have my favourite ever opening sentence. Truly wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Tale of Two Cities has the most amazing opening sentence!

      Delete
  8. I'm glad you got on with The Great Gatsby better this time. I definitely don't think I would have liked it so much if I had read it when I was younger, there's definitely a lot of elements that are hard to resonate with if you're still very young. I love the edition you have here, it's the one I've had my eye on - think I'll be treating myself to it very soon!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really think you need to have lived a little before you can appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete

I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright Becky Craggs 2017