I remember trying to read The Great Gatsby a few years back and really struggling to get through it; however, having now read it, I don’t quite understand where I could have met any kind of struggle. It was one of the easiest reads I’ve come across in a very long time. I would have read it a lot quicker than I did, but my eyes have been so heavy lately, and have been stinging all week long, too.
The beginning of the book had me bound to it. I finished the first chapter and wanted to just continue on and read the entire book. I think the main thing that intrigued me was how well written it is. In spite of the use of old language and writing style, it was very easy to follow, and very easy to enjoy – although, I am a big fan of older writers i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so perhaps I just enjoyed it because it’s my preferred style.
The writing and generality of the book is quite similar to all of the other classics that I’ve read, which I suppose makes sense, because they have to be classics for a reason. Books like To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and my personal favourite classic – J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye should definitely be on your reading list if you enjoy Gatsby.
I can certainly see why this book is renowned how it is. It’s one of those books that everyone should read, whether you like it or not, because it doesn’t exactly take long to get through and is something you don’t know you’ve missed until you’ve read it for yourself. There are so many things to look at in this novel. So many things to be opinionated about – the characters, the plot, the language, the implicit meanings of things, the style, the list goes on. An especially fantastic book for students to study.
Having said all of those wonderful things, I think it’s time I hate on the book a little.
As I made my way further through the pages I realised that I had no emotional attachment or connection to any of the characters. Sure, there were some characters I disliked and some I enjoyed more than others, but none really struck any personal nerves with me. This, I think, is a terrible sign of poor character writing. There are also no signs of any character development as the book goes on. They all rather stay the same old assholes that they were from the start.
Something else I disliked about this novel was that nothing really happened. Sure, there were events transpiring as the book went on, but they felt as if they were all for nought. It was mostly people just moving from one place to another, and either talking about what had happened or what could be. I just feel that Fitzgerald could have done something more with the story.
If I’m honest, the only characters that I didn’t dislike out of every single character in this book, were Nick and Daisy – though, I ended up disliking her at the end, too. So, basically just Nick. Gatsby was a bit of a creep and was extremely sure of himself. Jordan was like a little child, which Nick actually realises nigh the book’s end. And Tom was just a dick. There were others but I think you get the general idea.
Even though I did say earlier that none of the characters struck any personal nerves with me, that isn’t technically entirely true. There was one moment, where Gatsby was explaining to Nick, I think, about his undying love for Daisy; and while we later found it to be – or at least, I, found it to be rather creepy and weird and over the top, in that moment I felt a twinge of sadness in my stomach as he said or felt (I cannot remember which) something that I strongly related to.
The book’s pace varied throughout. While it moved rather slowly for the most part, there were times where things escalated and went into a full sprint. Something similar could be said for the chapter layout. I found myself in a few that never seemed to end, and some that were over almost as soon as I began. The balance was a little uneven, tilting more to the side of slow and long.
Overall, I think it was a fantastically written book, but not the most fantastic book that’s been written. I one-hundred percent recommend it to any literature or language or English students. Also to those enjoy older styled writing, classics, and a more twenty-onward demographic.