The Great Gatsby

DSC00834Yes, this is actually my first time reading this book. I managed to never have to pick it apart for school, but still felt like I was missing out by not reading it.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, looks at the American dream and lost love. Jay Gatsby is a secretive young man living extravagantly in a huge mansion. He has nurtured his young love for Daisy Buchanan for years, biding his time until he can reveal himself to her. Believing she will forsake her husband and cling to her lost lover, Gatsby has committed his recent years to building a life Daisy can’t refuse. Everything falls apart, however, when he reveals himself to Daisy and Daisy’s husband, Tom.

Whether a comment on the impossibility of regaining what’s been lost or a comment on the comfort of familiarity over impulsive desire, Fitzgerald writes a compelling story. Though no one is really an upstanding character, you start to feel a little bit for them, recognizing the ways they’ve trapped themselves in their circumstances and the feeling of doing all you can but still being unable to make a change.

Gatsby’s life of chasing the one thing he lost, believing that it will give him ultimate happiness, is certainly relatable, and comes with a warning that people and things change. What may have made you happy before isn’t necessarily what will make you happy now. Looking back isn’t the way to move forward.

Sometimes I think it’s impossible to read classic books without getting into an analytical mindset, at least to a degree. Perhaps it’s just that so many of them were purposely written as commentary, whereas a lot of books today are entertainment (and I’m OK with that). Sometimes you want a book that makes you think, and sometimes you want a book that takes you to another place altogether. The Great Gatsby does a little bit of both.

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