Wow, how does one review The Great Gatsby. My primary response to the book is that I wish I could have read it with "new" eyes - that is, not knowing the story line. I believe the impact would have been so much stronger when the tragedies struck. Just a few comments. I had the feeling that two different people were writing the book. There were paragraphs of incomparable descriptive prose - wonderful images - great colors - infinite longing. Then suddenly you are into the actual narrative dialogue and the content is largely void of imagery and very stark. I found the abrupt switch somewhat disconcerting. My view of Gatsby changed from my impressions due to the films. I had seen him as this gorgeous, seeker of his first love. After reading the book I did not see him as a hero at all. I saw him as an obsessed man who would do anything to get what he wanted. In this case it was Daisy. Only one person in the book has a conscience. That is, of course, the narrator, Nick Carraway. He attempts to be part of the "suave" rich people he sees around him, but he never feels comfortable in this role. He attempts, in addition to telling the story, to "reason" with / mediate among Gatsby and the other main characters. In the end he is the only person to mourn the losses of lives and the death of aspirations. Daisy and Tom are shallow users of people. Daisy loves being wanted, but is not about to give up anything to be "true to her first love". Tom more blatantly uses people and throws them away, but you have to grudgingly admire his honesty about what a horrible human being he is. Jordan is largely an amoral chameleon - taking and using with no compunction. This is a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare. I have never forgotten my English lesson: pathos is when horrible events occur without being caused by the sufferer; tragedy is pain brought on by the person's own actions. Every main character of this story acts to produce the death and suffering, except for Nick. His story is pathos in that he experiences the devastation and loss without acting to cause it and with no ability to prevent it. This is by no means a literary review of Gatsby - I must leave that to my betters in the world of literature. It is simply a few thoughts after reading a book regarded as one of the best of the 20th century. Kristi & Abby Tabby
didn't care for it much in school and didn't care much for it now, over 30 years later.
Tim Robbins renders this classic American high school required read in an unforgetable retelling. This is the one to listen to.
Book for January 2013
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