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The Classics Companion

I have a (small) obsession with books and tv shows. Proud geek.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald After hearing many good things about Gatsby, I was very excited about studying it in English. While I approached the book with an open mind, I was wary of how good it could be in the length it was, or how much the setting would suit my liking.

While I can't fault Fitgerald's writing, it was a very well written book. I couldn't write nearly anything as good, and in that sense, I enjoyed the book. However, I found it was lacking in several key points, which overall, made me come to dislike the book, especially to study.

Perhaps the main problem, for me, was the lack of any plot twist. It all seemed rather predictable for my liking. It was evident from the first chapter that Gatsby's fate was not great, and although I like foreshadowing, it put a downer on things from the offset, one that I carried with me through the rest of the novel. The love story with Daisy and Gatsby was predicable, they met, they 'fell in love' again, and Daisy had to choose.

Another problem for me was the narrative. Although Nick seems like the ideal choice for narrator, which his blatant connections with each character, I disliked him from the offset. It was clearly intentional for Fitzgerald to make him an unreliable narrator, which I believe was meant to place doubt into the readers mind of what happened. I'm not against unreliable narrators by any means, but I found Nick's character far too differing in his teling of the story. Half the time, Nick tells the story with strong bias that is evident, the other half, he's writing with a severe detachment that becomes almost monotonous. Along with me finding it hard to like his character in the first place, his unreliable narration provides the book to be difficult reading, with the narration frustrating me. In turn, I disliked the novel.

There are many other small things that I dislike about the book (mainly my lack of sympathy/empathy for any the characters), yet I want to refrain myself from making this review a slander about the book. I can fully understand why people would love this book, and I can understand why it is so highly regarded as one of the best pieces of American Literature. I suppose, in the end, it just didn't sit well with me, and perhaps with me alone.

I therefore, while disliking the book, would never say 'Don't read Gatsby' to anyone. Why? It's a key piece of American Literature that highlights the age of prohibition in the 1920s, and the Jazz Age, which can't be ignored. If you only read it for the cultural descriptions, read it.