I know Dave is gonna hate me for my opinion of this, because he’s a little obsessed with it, but I can’t help it. F Scott Fitzgerald’s story of tragic love, the American dream, and the destructive carelessness of Tom and Daisy Buchanan left me cold, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It might be a classic, but I can’t see why anyone would ever read it for enjoyment.
In 1920s New York, investor Nick Carraway moves next door to enigmatic Gatsby, whose parties are the stuff of legends. After meeting the host, it becomes clear that his neighbour is madly in love with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan – Nick’s cousin. Told in Nick’s recollections over the course of a single stiflingly hot summer, infidelity, old love, sumptuous parties and hedonistic disregard for anything combine towards the disappointingly bleak finale of this classic of American literature.
To be quite honest, I really disliked this book. Yes, Fitzgerald’s prose is unparalleled, but the entire book is just disagreeable. I understand that it represents the hedonistic disregard of the American dream, and that Daisy and Tom are supposed to be careless people whose wealth allows them to leave their messes for others to clean up, but it just didn’t hit any of the right buttons for me. Nick was weak and boring, Tom and Daisy were genuinely horrendously self-absorbed, Gatsby was idealistic and naive, and generally, I had no interest in the characters, their dilemmas, or any of the underlying symbolism.
Gatsby is a classic, a hugely successful Lurhmann film, a staple of the American education, a symbolic meditation on the disintegration of the American dream, but for me, it just wasn’t an enjoyable read.