By F. Scott Fitzgerald
180 pages in paperback. Published by SimonandShuster
When I first heard about the book, the first thing to come to mind was “Why The Great Gatsby?”. Come to think of it, “What is a Gatsby?”
And what do we do when we want to find information? We Google it. And that is just what I did. And according to the depository of world knowledge. And this is what I found:
“A Gatsby is defined as someone who is excessively extravagant, cool and stylish”.
I presumed the book would be about a person who was flashy and stylish, but not so wealthy. To find out, I had to read.
About the Author:
F. Scott Fitzgerald is a distant relative to Francis Scott Keys for whom he was named after. He was born in 1896 and published his first novel, This side of Paradise in 1920. He died at age 44 due to a heart attack. The keys family has strong connections to the Maryland area but, because Francis was not a regular churchgoer and did not take communion, he was not a practicing Catholic and was not accepted for burial in the St. Mary’s Church in Rockville. He was instead buries at the Rockville Union Cemetery, about a mile away from St. Mary’s. When his wife died, she too was buried in that one plot.
In 1975, their daughter convinced the church to reverse its earlier decision, and the couple was moved to the Fitzgerald family plot at the family plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.
About The Book:
I purchased a copy of the book rather than borrowing from the library knowing full well I would not finish reading before I had to return it. The book is a 2004 paperback print by Scribner Publishing Group. There are 180 pages, the ISBN is 978-0-7432-7356-5.
By the time I started on this book, a movie version of The Great Gatsby had already shown. Although tempting, I decided to develop my opinion of the story by reading it, not clouded by any addition that a movie might include.
The story is set in the 1920s, also known as the “Roaring Twenties”. It was a time of mass consumerism, the Jazz age and prohibition. It tells the story from the point of view of Nick Carraway. Nick settled in West Egg next to the mansion of Jay Gatsby whom he has not met. Nick attended the many parties that his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan. The Buchanan’s are considered old rich. Gatsby is a member of the new rich, but of an unknown source. But of all the parties that society wanted to attend, it was the ones held at the Gatsby mansion that stood out. It stood out for the shear amount of food, music, the status and the number of people who attend whether invited. It short, his party was the highlight of everybody’s weekend.
It turns out that these parties are held not because of a need for recognition and acceptance. Jay Gatsby needed to be noticed by only one, Daisy Buchanan. It turns out that before Jay acquired his wealth, he and Daisy were lovers. And all this, the wealth he had gained by whatever means, the show and he finally inviting Nick was for the purpose of reuniting and eventually winning Daisy back. And for a time, it looked like it might succeed. Tom played around and had affairs. So Daisy was becoming open to the idea. But this as not to be. An incident involving Tom’s lover, her husband, Daisy and Jay that this story did not get a happy ending.
I started out not really being interested in the book. The title does not tell me much about what to expect. The Great Gatsby! Who is this Gatsby and why is he so great? Well, if you don’t read then you won’t find out! While reading, I felt myself get annoyed by some choices made by Jay. Like why was he alone that night swimming in the pool. Was Daisy worth all the trouble? Come on man, is there really nobody out there for you, that you need to steal the wife of another man? and Daisy, and the author Francis Scott Keys and Wife Zelda. Francis worked hard to make the money needed to convince Zelda to marry him, and to maintain the lifestyle she is used too. It was the reason he was constantly in debt. It is the same reason for Jay Gatsby.
The story is simple and easy to understand. The idea, never ending, romantic if ultimately unrequited love is a theme throughout history. The Great Gatsby is interesting and I would definitely recommend it for a weekend reading. Text file
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