The Great Gatsby

Book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Synposis: The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature. [via Amazon]

Book Notes: I realized something about my "reviews" yesterday... its very impersonal and as if written for a crowd pleasing audience. As the blogger dash board reminds me, it seems im likely the only one that knows about this blog, and comfortably so. This was meant to help me keep tabs on the books I've read, an online version of a book journal. So why the hell was i writing it with fear that i would receive angst from others? i should be writing about my experience!

So here i am trying to remedy my folly as i try to fully grasp and thoroughly digest my first reading of the Great Gatsby. I don't really know if im hyper emotional today because im hungry (today, well Jan 7, was the first day of my hopeful new lifestyle and body goal. Truth be told, it has definitely been about time i made that my priority but it leads my point astray) 

i was actually getting dizzy reading the first three chapters. perhaps it was hunger, or lack of sleep but i felt like the words were just all twisting and turning. there were just so many words. cohesive, tight words that you had to read every little bit of it to fully comprehend the entire sentence. Precise concentration is thus required. the book is only 170 pages long, and the author did beautifully and got straight to the point.

So in a moment of distraction, i decided to make a playlist based on my current lss-- Feel Again by One Republic. Im completely enamored and smitten with this song, it seems to have provided me some hope, hope that i so scarcely allow myself to believe for theres a stronger, lingering feel of disappointment that looms. Theres some emptiness inside me, that I am even too ashamed to speak out loud.

Anyway, I ended up pulling a Cher and checked sparknotes for a quick glimpse into this enigmatic novel that, three chapters in, has left me silly crossed eyed. I didnt really get to read much except a quick glimpse down a the first comment that simply said - Gatsby dies, who else better to tell the story than Nick. Curiosity and intrigued got the better of me, and thus aided me to finish it so.

So now here i am, perched on my laptop, as my playlist repeats for the third time tonight still trying to fully wrap my mind and find some words.

Lonely. Gatsby was lonely. despite his lavish lifestyle, his gaudy home and his "friends"- he was lonely and obsessed blindly over the one woman he love. and in so many ways i feel like thats me. I'm alone in this lifetime and it scares me, that at the end of the day i have no allies, no one to take care of me, no one i can fully trust to see me through till the end. And yet i still feel so much like Daisy, that in realizing all of the above, i retreat in the comfort of luxury and wealth. It does make everything much easier to forget.

Its rather deathly of me to be swirling in such a deep pond of emotional and physical insecurity. Much like Gatsby, I've placed my world into a pedestal that I have simply become a detached observer. I never really fully participate in any of it, I simply host a well calculated series of events and stare and hope that some dream of mine would just happen. Perhaps I'm really disillusioned by it all. Perhaps i'm really just insecure and lonely. Perhaps the dream shouldnt be my dream- but even i cannot fully identify what it is i am so painfully pining for.

Perhaps Im most like Gatsby, so emotionally driven and passionate, so one track minded into a goal that i seem to be aloof about everything else. Perhaps i can be most like him and finally transform, and achieve that end goal that has long eluded me through all these years. Perhaps i am so forlorn because my life is as empty and shallow as his. 

Definitely a remarkable testament to his writing, Fitzegerald so beautiful portrayed the nothingness of his characters so well. That despite the bourgeoning decadence of the 20's, there was still so much emptiness, nothingness, skepticism. The lifestyle seemed like a lavish front for the growing void within.

On a poetic note, life changed so much after WWI, dreams were realized and shattered. Life will be different for me in 2013, because whatever it is, I think- no I know, that this year I will learn how to feel again. I will be like Gatsby that despite everything, still believed in the green light ahead.

Book Quotes:

"Gatsby? What Gatsby?"

"Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens."

"I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."

"And I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy."

"Everyone suspects him of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that i have ever known."

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired."

"No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart."

"After all, in the very casualness of Gatsby's party there were romantic possibilities totally absent from her world."

"Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can. He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand."

"He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was..."

"There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind."

"I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous, menacing road of a new decade."

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... and one fine morning-"

Rating: 4.5/5


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