The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Book Review

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Cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald3 Stars

Nick Carraway moves from the Midwest to Long Island to try to make a living after World War I. He is curious about his neighbor and the extravagant parties he throws every weekend. Eventually the two meet and become something like friends. The neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is shrouded in myth and legend and no one seems to know where he came from, how he made his money, or anything at all about him for that matter. Gatsby has a very specific reason for living where and how he does and his personal struggle pulls several others into his wake.

Like many others, I decided to re-read this before the movie comes out. I disliked it in school but I’ve changed my mind about almost all the other classics I’ve bothered to re-read, so I thought I might change my mind about this one too.

Not really.

If you follow my reviews at all, you know that I am a very character-driven reader. Give me an awesome character and I’m happy. But there is not one likeable character in this novel. I think I kind of liked Nick in high school but now I don’t even like him. He’s by far the best of the bunch but that’s not saying much.

Gatsby himself is kind of pitiable. He’s worked hard, being pushed constantly by an overweening ambition. He seems to have been born with a desire for more than he has but circumstances cause him to push himself even harder. He surrounds himself with people who don’t bother to know him and seems to think that this is what gives a man a full life. Or rather, he thinks its a step on the way to fulfilling his deepest desire. He just made me feel tired and sad. He could have had so much but in reality, he had nothing. The one sentence that sticks out for me is this: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….” Gatsby, being self-made, doesn’t realize this about people with old money and that is his undoing.

We must have watched the old Robert Redford movie in school because I kept picturing him as Gatsby. That’s just fine by me; I’d rather imagine a young Robert Redford than Leonardo DiCaprio any day!

This is a short read and I think I’m going to find it a little haunting this time around. It’s beautifully written, so if you’re interested, go ahead and give it a go.

The movie is released today! Will you be seeing it in theaters or waiting for it on DVD? My husband and I will probably head out to the theater sometime.

Read an excerpt.

Buy The Great Gatsby at


photo credit:
Love Of Books by George Hodan

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I read it in HS but I think I liked it at the time. But I really do not like DiCaprio so I don't think I'll be itching to watch it all. But I do want to re-read the book at some point even though I am also a very character driven reader. Hmmmmm.

  2. I didn't like this in high school either, but I'm also considering giving it a second chance before going to see the movie 🙂

  3. Nice review! I read this a couple years ago and really enjoyed it but the more (or less) I think about it realized (for me) that it is a forgetable novel. I couldn't even remember Nick and Daisy's names, if that is any indication.

    I'm really torn as to seeing it in the theater or at home. Some of the soundtrack was played during American Idol and I was not impressed and it has gotten mixed reviews… I seem to be coming down hard on Jay Gatsby but I still want to see it.

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