Book Review: The Great Gatsby

As someone who loves to read, people are often surprised when they ask me if I’ve read a classic and my answer is no. There are many classic books I have never read and that remain on my ‘I must read that one day’ list. The Great Gatsby was one of those. I understand that this is considered the classic American novel, and is taught in schools, but it passed me by and has been sitting in my bookshelf for a looooooong time.

My work book club wasn’t officially reading this as one of our books, but at our last meeting we thought we might have our first excursion and go see the film together, and so I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. Similar stories are all over the internet at the moment. So, what did I think?

I wanted to love the book, to have it feature as one of my favourites, and it didn’t quite meet those expectations, but it was still very enjoyable. Things for me didn’t get exciting or interesting until two thirds of the way through the book. It is only a short book, so this wasn’t necessarily promising, and for a while I wondered what was so good about this book filled with unlikeable characters and no real progression. But I’m glad I stuck with it, as I was then pleasantly surprised.

The writing is beautiful throughout, I certainly can’t fault F. Scott Fitzgerald on that one. The man knew how to use the English language to great effect. Without giving away spoilers though, the last third of the book is what made this rate as highly in my non-scientific rating scheme as it did. Human emotions are raw and realistic and I grew to feel for the characters, even those I didn’t necessarily like. Sometimes we can get caught up in our dreams without thinking about what happens next, and want to think more of people than they actually deserve. Some sections of this book reminded me of those things.

At only 173 pages (in the version I read, anyway) you have no excuse for not taking the time to read this. I think it’s the kind of book we can all learn from.

Oh, and as an aside, now that I’ve read this, I’m down to 232 books to read in my bookshelves!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: 4 out of 5 stars

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