It’s the characters that make this story. The narrator, Nick, is fairly plain and uninteresting, but the people around him are such complex, intriguing and entertaining characters that I loved this book from beginning to end.
The story follows the life of the rich on Long Island in the 1920s. They invite themselves to parties, they complain about the heat and are utterly unhappy in their marriages. It’s the perfect recipe for an engaging story where the characters drive the plot, not the other way round.
After a few recent disappointments in my 100 book challenge, this was a refreshing change.
So how did F. Scott Fitzgerald do it? For one, he always showed and never told. The characters’ emotions, drivers and passions are shown through their actions and narrative. We rarely step into the mind of the main character Nick, he just says it as it is. And I love that style of writing.
It seems real. It makes you feel like you’re there watching the events unfold. You are free to make your own judgments on the characters. And, as flawed as the characters are, you can’t help but love them. They are simply passionate people who make poor decisions.
Fitzgerald’s writing made the characters feel like old friends. I laughed at the characters’ quirks, I was saddened by their tragedies and I felt excitement from their short-lived love affairs.
And the ending was satisfying. It was believable and climatic and everything an ending should be.
Thank you Fitzgerald for restoring my faith in the 100 book list. Now onto book number 14!
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.
4 responses to “13. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (100 book challenge)”
Pingback: 100 book challenge – my running tally | Jessie Ansons
Great review Jessie. I read this at school (like so many of us) and still love it today.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
I agree, Jessie… nice review. You have a refreshing style. Unlike Jenny above me, I did not read the book in high school, nor college. I read it after I saw the movie. I loved the movie, and saw it three times. A lot of people didn’t like the style, but I did. Then I had to read the book. I even wrote a story based on it for Fri Fic and expanded later on for another blog post. You might get a kick out of reading it… but please… don’t review me. (unless you absolutely love it)
p.s. I loved the book more than the movie…