Book Review – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

First published, 1925

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he [my father] told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’”
1% in, Chapter One, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thus, Nick Carraway begins the novel with his father’s words echoing in his ears.

As Nick moves to a rundown little place out east, with an overgrown garden, in the shade of a mighty mansion, he can’t help but become intrigued by the elusive man who lives there, a man who throws regular cocktail-soaked parties for strangers, lives the high life, but about whom relatively little is known. There’s rather a lot of speculation among the party-goers, of course. He’s thought to be a bootlegger, a murderer, a playboy, but Nick wouldn’t know him if he had to pick him out of a line-up.

As Nick spends times with cousin Daisy, her imposing, abject-failure of a husband, and their all-but-forgotten toddler, as well as lady athlete Jordan, Nick becomes embroiled in everyone else’s affairs, of which there are many, and forgets his father’s words almost entirely by judging the elusive Gatsby twelve ways from Sunday.

In fact, he judges everyone because they’re all very hedonistic and, whether happy or not, I fancy Nick looks down on them all because he’s stalled in his own rather stagnant life. Vicarious thrills aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. His only strong feelings about other people are disappointment and frustration, he struck me as a rather bitter, peripheral figure, even in his own life.

A great portrait of the time, gloriously rendered, and another classic to tick off my list.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
100% in, last line, Chapter Nine, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald