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Alex's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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's review
Dec 24, 2007

it was amazing

The Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English prose ever published, making it difficult to discuss the novel without the urge to stammer awestruck about its beauty. It would be evidence enough to argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald was superhuman, if it wasn't for the fact that we know he also wrote This Side of Paradise.

But despite its magic, the rhetoric is just that, and it is a cruel facade. Behind the stunning glitter lies a story with all the discontent and intensity of the early Metallica albums. At its heart, The Great Gatsby throws the very nature of our desires into a harsh, shocking light. There may never be a character who so epitomizes tragically misplaced devotion as Jay Gatsby, and Daisy, his devotee, plays her part with perfect, innocent malevolence. Gatsby's competition, Tom Buchanan, stands aside watching, taunting and provoking with piercing vocal jabs and the constant boast of his enviable physique. The three jostle for position in an epic love triangle that lays waste to countless innocent victims, as well as both Eggs of Long Island. Every jab, hook, and uppercut is relayed by the instantly likable narrator Nick Carraway, seemingly the only voice of reason amongst all the chaos. But when those boats are finally borne back ceaselessly by the current, no one is left afloat. It is an ethical massacre, and Fitzgerald spares no lives; there is perhaps not a single character of any significance worthy even of a Sportsmanship Award from the Boys and Girls Club.

In a word, The Great Gatsby is about deception; Fitzgerald tints our glasses rosy with gorgeous prose and a narrator you want so much to trust, but leaves the lenses just translucent enough for us to see that Gatsby is getting the same treatment. And if Gatsby represents the truth of the American Dream, it means trouble for us all. Consider it the most pleasant insult you'll ever receive.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 24, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-50 of 61) (61 new)

Nicole This amuses me. First of all in my recollection of the book, he was not a drug dealer at all. He was simply selling illegal alcohol out of drug stores. Everyone proclaims this book is so simple and perfect, a true "novella". blah blah blah. It was written back in the day therefore it intrigues people. But i wonder would it be the same if it was written today? or would it be a bunch of nonsense? Fitzgerald is not at all superman. He was not that great of an author and had mad a handful of literary mistakes that he left his publisher to fix. However i do believe this book to be very "american". It shows how we can get so consumed in money that even American people enjoy thinking about being wealthy, even when Gatsby is at his worst people still are fantasizing about all that damn money. This by far is not a definition of a beautiful, simple novel. And not one moment in the book does it capture the true essence of falling in love. Gatsby is the only pure of heart in this novel. Love is hardly existent for the other characters. This is a true American shit book and shows just how shallows we all can be. Jay Gatsby is simple and beautiful. Not the novel. i'm rather pissed.

Alex To an extent, I agree with you. I certainly agree that the novel fails to capture the true essence of love, but then again, I don't think it wants to. To me, the fact that the characters are so unappealing is one of it's strong points, but the main reason I call The Great Gatsby beautiful is because of the prose. Story aside, I really think Fitzgerald hit upon a gorgeous style with this novel, so much so that I probably would have enjoyed it no matter what the story was. I'm sorry your pissed, but I think the irritation might be better directed at American society rather than the novel that represents it.

Nicole I see where you are coming from. I do agree with you, that most of my anger was toward American society. i get myself wrapped up sometimes :) Also i can not deny that i liked the style of the novel as well. Still somethings i question.

Torrie I agree absolutely! The style is what hooked me and pulled me in. I also agree with what you said about criticizing American society. You can see that he hates how the rich are able to get whatever they want (or get away from whatever they want) just because of their standing in society. The rose-colored glasses is a great way of describing that. I hadn't thought of it like that before, but now that I do it makes a lot of sense.

Eric Norcross The concept is that he MAY have been a bootlegger, even that wasn't made too clearly. Just that he wasn't 100% within the law. It's amazing how many people interpret the same book slightly differently though.

maremaremare Drug dealer? Now, that's quite unexpected :)

Jessica Rios Alcohol IS a drug. So, yes, he was an illegal (at the time) drug dealer. The O.P. was correct; he was a drug dealer. Anyway, hardly the point of the book. I agree with the OP that this book has SUCH BEAUTIFUL prose that it really doesnt even matter to me what the story is about. When FSF talked about the light on Daisy's face during the first dinner I almost wept. It was beautiful. Really had very little to do with the story, but it was amazing prose. I also really loved when he talked about how the East is so uncaring compared to the midwest. As a person who grew up in the midwest, moved to NY, then 20 years later moved back to the midwest, I can very much relate!!! I agreed with Nick that the East is wonderful and exciting and superior to the midwest, but I am a midwesterner and the way that the East says, "who cares who you are," is not how I was raised. I love that Nick went back home in the end. Opps, I am sorry, I digressed.

Branka I agree with the fact that This side of paradise and The great Gatsby discover two different persons of the authors's character.

Desiree Loeven I thoroughly enjoyed your review. Thank you.

David Sabala I love your analysis of Daisy as "innocently malevolent." Your evaluation is really good here. Thank you.

message 11: by Mei (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mei Sorry to be "that person", but Gatsby was a bootlegger, not a drug dealer...

message 12: by Alyse (new) - added it

Alyse Am I the only one who didn't take 'drug dealer' literally??

message 13: by Rosey (new) - added it

Rosey Nice review!

I don't think the author wanted to capture love. Overall, its not about love. But loosing yourself somewhere along the way and trying to get back to the same spot... For Gatsby, its his love for daisy. Gatsby will forever love daisy, but he's too late.
The story is about reckless people who lead reckless lives, smashing everything in their way. Nick is mad at daisy and Tom for that reason, they just go back to their lives as if nothing happened. People like that exist though, sadly.
A person who chases a goal that's long in his past. Fitzgerald mentions the green light over and over again. Green light is not love. It's gatsby's dream that is in the past. Which is his love for daisy. But every person has different dreams when they close their eyes.
He's trying to bluntly tell us to stop chasing a dream that's gone. Stop chasing the past. There's a beautiful part in the book that is long to post here, you can find it in the quotes probably, where nick talks about gatsby's dream and the green light. It screams this, he's being so straightforward in his message. The parties, the country it takes place in have nothing to do with the message. Just part of his setting. Notice how there's no main character (other than nick) that is without faults. Everyone is bad. But the one who lives in the past dies. Extreme. It's a lesson about dark and cruel life. Let the past go. Let it be. Find a meaning in life. (to Nicole's comment)

That's what I saw while reading the book. I am a fan of the book, so maybe that's why haha.


message 14: by Rosey (new) - added it

Rosey Now that I reread my comment, the parties and the country describe the 20s. So scratch that. Just chasing a dream that's gone! This sounds cruel, but how much did daisy really love him? Is that love between them? I don't know, I don't want to think that someone "loves" me like that. She did have a kid though. Rambling on, sorry.

Christine The brilliance of the novel and author is that although written almost 90 years ago it is a brief novel that still sparks intelligent conversation! Thanks to all of you for that!

message 16: by Olivia (new) - added it

Olivia Thanks for the spoiler!

Susan (the other Susan) I agree with Alex that it's not meant to be a love story. That would be like saying that The Scarlet Letter is about adultery, or that Life of Pi is about a sea voyage.

Susan (the other Susan) Olivia, a spoiler? Really? Alex is reviewing a classic novel. The plot is pretty well known.

Sophia Flemming This is one of the best reviews I have read about this novel.

I am reading The Great Gatsby after about fifteen years, and many aspects you point out, I agree with. Fitzgerald's beautiful prose and storytelling is a juxtaposition of each other....we see the beauty of the writn, but the ugliness of the story which is sadly Gatsby's displaced perception he has on Daisy.

Sierra I love how your prose is so eloquent, just as Fitzgerald's

message 22: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Alyse wrote: "Am I the only one who didn't take 'drug dealer' literally??"

No, you aren't. I didn't take "drug dealer" literally either when I read it. I thought the OP was just using that as an example.

message 23: by Juan (new)

Juan Mitchell I agree in your opinion that in Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" deception contributed to the plot and mystique. His use of deceiving devices and terminology seems to confuse the reader to the point where we know as much about Gatsby's life as those visitors who attended his extravagant parties.For example, at first Gatsby said he was inherit to his fortune due to the death of his parents(pg.65) ,but as the story progresses,his bio changes.Gatsby, mysterious as he is, would be a great representation of the American Dream nowadays and his death(pg.162) represents the lost hope for achieving the American Dream.

Megan You can't help but feel a sense of loss and waste after reading The Great Gatsby. And he truly is great– all those parties, all the extravagance, was an elaborate facade as you said. He built himself up, invited people into his life so they could see how brilliant he had become, almost in an attempt to fit in with those who were born with wealth and security. But they could see through it, his desperate schemes to convince them that he belonged, some more clearly than others. Daisy almost fell for it, Gatsby swept her away but Tom used her fear and doubt to pull her right back in. He knew Gatsby wasn't one of them from the very start, that he was a fraud, an imposter of this impossible image that he created for himself. However, yet so full of hope that when he fails his task, everything turns to the dust but Jay Gatsby still haunts those who knew him.

message 25: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Susan wrote: "Olivia, a spoiler? Really? Alex is reviewing a classic novel. The plot is pretty well known."

And it was made into a movie too. Can't remember the actors, maybe Robert Redford?

Kalhie Cargal Not a drug dealer. A bootlegger. There's a different.

Maria beautifully composed review! truely captures the essence of such an intricate and complex novel of society's chaos that permeates through the ages.

message 28: by Miralla (new)

Miralla Extravagently beautiful!

Rosaline Adeyemi Ooolala

Jossue I agree Gatsby is like a neighbor or best friend. As a reader you get charmed like most characters in the book it's very interesting.

Brandon$ This book sucks

Barak Pipkins I thought that the movie was better than the book. I like how the movie is more modern. also the music choice

message 34: by Liam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liam You didn't really know the truth or much about gastbsy until the end of the book. Many said he was in the army or he was just rich because his parents were. Towards the end of the book everyone found out the real reason he got rich for.

Jerry I completely agree, I was wondering what his real job was the whole time. He kept a low profile.

message 36: by Iburd (new)

Iburd Well that was a beautiful talking, literally beautiful.

message 37: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle OMG I SRLY have read this book over 200 times, I just really adore the story.

message 38: by Hoa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hoa This is such a spoiler!

message 39: by Lei Yu (new) - added it

Lei Yu hi alex

Jiyoun Kim I like your review

Virginia Many in this thread speak of the novel as being critical of American society. Read further: you will find many European novels of 18th-19th-20th C. which also work with the ideas of rich vs poor society of inequality, arrivistes like Gatsby who worm their way into the fabric of high society yet who represent essential human qualities, & elicit very human qualities in their hi-class quarry, revealing the latter, as well as the former, to be victims of circumstance, all of whom could have done better, given a better socio-political platform. I think maybe all these novels are trying to point the way to how much better we all could do, had we better socio-political milieux, & that that is what we must work toward.

message 42: by Pooria (new) - added it

Pooria For god's sake say spoiler alert first , you destroyed the book for me that you
Smart ha???

Midori Chan Leonardo acted in the film... really loves the movie and now can't wait to read its novel...

Mateusz Walesiak Good review

Jackie Keller This is quite possibly the best review ever possible of this book. Bravo.

Soojung Kim Love your review.

message 47: by Madhu (new)

Madhu Singh I like the review.

message 48: by Mostly (new) - added it

Mostly Wonderful review.

message 49: by Zhanganq000 (new) - added it

Zhanganq000 Good review

Anela I totally agree with you're review
The book is just amazing
It feels like you can read it over and over again and it will never get boring

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