Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reading Challenge Book 30: The Great Gatsby


I am 11 books behind schedule. UGH! At my roommate's request I picked up The Great Gatsby, which is not a long read at all. It is, however, a book that I don't really enjoy, so I wasn't diligent in my reading. What could have been an excellent "catch-up" novel became, instead, a hindrance to my cause.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is a book I have read two or three times previously, the exact number of which I cannot say, nor do I particularly care to. It doesn't matter anyway, it's just a number, and not one I find holds any deep significance. I didn't like the book when I first read it, and years later I still don't like it.

Fitzgerald's writing is not the problem. On the contrary, this book is beautifully written, and the tale is told with excellence of style and in stellar detail. There are quite a few passages I highlighted in my Kindle app because of Fitzgerald's beautiful use of language; there are others I did not, simply because I was too caught up in the reading to pause.

Aha! you might say. "'Caught up in the reading'? You like this book!" To which I will have to respond, "sadly no, old sport." It is a tale of trifles, of a world far removed that I cannot identify with, populated with characters I do not care for. Carraway is a decent chap, for the most part, but even he tires me. A younger me might have identified with Gatsby and his single-minded pursuit of love, but that me did not, and now it's far too late. The women in the story are little more than set-pieces and plot devices, and even when they're given interesting characteristics nothing comes of it.

To me, The Great Gatsby remains a beautifully-rendered tale about things that don't matter. Perhaps I will read it again someday, but perhaps not. It doesn't really matter.

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