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Everyone should read this book. It is necessary to understanding the American experience, the development of this country, and to a lesser or greater degree for different people, yourself. This is not a discussion. For your own good, reading this book is absolutely and completely obligatory.
That all said, I think Fitzgerald has done more interesting and pretty things in his other novels. My favorite one is "Tender is the Night," which I think is deeply touching. But this one? You cannot beat that end image. Ever. It's actually impossible. I love the quote about Tom and Daisy being "careless people" - seriously, it is worth reading just to get to that. I also like the synecdoche within the book (the way in which Jay Gatsby is characterised by his smile). I also liked the promise of the green light.
This wasn't the best book I have ever read, so in many respects I think it is overhyped (slightly), but it was a good read so I truly do recommend it. It is often on the GCSE specification, but I did not get the opportunity to read it until I was 17 so I would rule it out based on the standard teaching-age. It wasn't my favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald books so I probably won't necessarily read it again in the future, but I am likely to return to it in order to rediscover some of the best moments within this great piece of fiction. A short read too, which I believe is always a good thing.
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Fiction, Modern Classic, American Fiction
First Published: 1925
Nick Carraway is introduced to the glittering world of Jay Gatsby, his neighbour. But beneath all of the extravagance, Gatsby has a secret.
After the war, Nick Carraway decides to 'go east,' and move away from the Midwest to the exciting and extravagant world of Long Island, New York. He settles near to his cousin Daisy, and her husband. Set in the 'roaring twenties', a period of economic expansion, the novel is host to numerous dazzling parties with hundreds of well-dressed guests. When Carraway receives an invitation to one of his neighbour's infamous parties, he is eager to discover more of the man he has never met. The rogue host whom the guests think, "has killed a man," is completely unlike Carraway's expectations.
Carraway and Gatsby soon become friends and spend many hours together. However, before long, Gatsby has a confession to make, and soon Carraway is forced to reassess his judgement. When Gatsby's confession leads to a tragedy, Gatsby has to put his life on the line to protect those that he loves, and ultimately discovers who his real friends are.
I have had a difficult time making my mind up about this book. I tried reading it a few years ago but gave up after a few pages. When I picked it up again this time I had a similar problem. Even though it is just over a hundred pages long, it felt like hard work reading it, simply because the plot lacked any action. Nothing really happens until the end of the book, making it difficult to get involved and enjoy reading it.
What I liked about the book, however, was the language that Fitzgerald used. The witty and, at times, cynical tone that he presents is humorous and thought-provoking. The description he uses is beautifully written and engaging, but, due to the lack of excitement in the plot, this book really wasn't one for me.
Favourite Quote: 'A tray of cocktails floated at us through the twilight, and we sat down at a table with the two girls in yellow and three men, each one introduced to us as Mr Mumble.' (p. 28)