Thursday 6 June 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Yes, I'm back again with a lovely book that I don't really have the credentials to review. Enjoy!
So... for some reason I always thought that this book was the sequel to Moby Dick. Don't ask me why -- I don't know either -- but I just thought I would put that out there. I totally don't read books simply because the film is about to come out. I'm not that much of a loser. --cough cough--

I loved this book. Really, I did. From the first page, I was hooked. Nick's voice from the first paragraph was brilliant. A bit sarky and self-deprecating, it made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could love this book.
Unfortunately, Nick's voice kind of petered out as more characters were introduced to us, which was a shame but, I think, was probably purposeful (I haven't looked at the internet and its wonderful school notes things, so I couldn't tell you). Nick became a watcher -- 'both within and without' -- more of a... well, I can't think of an analogy, but he was a watcher. He barely ever had an actual effect in the novel. It was a shame to lose the part of his voice that I loved the most, but by this time I was too enthralled by the plot and other characters to even notice.
 Everything in the setting was described in minute, magical detail, and the characters were similarly magical. They were all both complex and sickeningly narcissistic and self-absorbed. From Jordan's way of holding herself to whatshisface's hatred of being called the 'polo player', there was just something... well, like I said before, enthralling. It was wonderful.
 And don't get me started on Gatsby. Poor Gatsby. He was as bad as the rest, worse in some respects, and yet, the enigma that he was at the beginning and his puppy-like devotion to being nice just seemed to fuel the desperate hopelessness of him that was revealed in the end, and it just made him pitiable. Cute. Lovable. Any word you want to pick with a positive connotation, that was him.
 However, I imagine that a large amount of what was written and inferred and said in this novel went over the head of everyone's favourite anti-social blogging type (aka me). In fact, I only realised some of the most obvious things about the novel when watching the film (more on the film in a later post). But, you know, apart from the 'feeling like a total eejit' bit, I quite like being confused by a book. It's my natural state of being in real life, so why not in book life? Book-confusion means the writer knows what they're doing (yes, I have been rereading the first two books of the Mara Dyer trilogy -- how did you know?).

I would say that the only slight niggling thing I have about this novel is the ending. Endings are hard to get right as a rule, but sad endings should at least be easy to squeeze tears out of. The Great Gatsby didn't even get a preemptory sniff from me. It took so long to set up that, by the time the end actually happened, it was expected and felt a little weak. Worse, it wasn't even the end. Fitzgerald clearly had the same preoccupation with grief that I have when this was written, because we had to wait for the funeral. Yes, the funeral. And it was sad and that was great, but... well. It felt a little bit like a prolonged goodbye. It was awkward.

 OKay, so that bit makes the whole thing sound awful and a waste of time to read and a bit annoying, but it was just so...
You know what, I can't put it into words, so just go read it yourself, lazybones.
(BTW, the pic did have a caption saying that I love books too much not to overuse the highest award I can give, but clearly the caption was long enough to break my blog, so you will just have to imagine that this is a caption).

Charlotte out!

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