Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teen Review: Gatsby!

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
192 pages
Realistic fiction
Not part of a series
High school and adult reading level
Reviewed by
Denisa W., 11th grade

S U M M A R Y :

Nick Carraway, the narrator and excellent observer of this book set in the 1920s, is neighbors with Jay Gatsby, a wealthy though relatively young man who lives in a mansion by himself. Gatsby is known for his notorious and lavish parties, which he throws every weekend in an attempt to catch the attention of his former teenage love, the beautiful but married Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is a dreamer and optimist who causes trouble for himself due to his belief that the past can be repeated. The story evokes themes of love, power, social struggles, and the careless extravagance that characterized the Jazz Age.

R E V I E W :

The story was exciting to read and hard to put down. With a plot line that was already interesting itself, the beautiful writing and imagery that went along with it was what made the book one of my favorites. I really liked how the story was told by Nick, an observer, instead of by Gatsby himself, because it leaves a sense of mystery for the readers as to who Gatsby really is. Nick is generally unbiased as well, which creates a slightly tainted version of the third person narrator.

The classic Gatsby cover, with eyes and the brightly lit-up cityscape, was intriguing for me and made me more inclined to read the book and, in turn, watch the movie. Almost everyone tends to agree that books generally turn out better than the movies, and the case is the same for The Great Gatsby. Although I have seen the movie and really enjoyed it as well, reading the book (especially before seeing the film) definitely adds to the experience.

Overall, I would give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5 because although I can imagine a better book in general, I could not imagine a better written one for the purpose that Fitzgerald intended. Having some knowledge about the author and the intent of the book, I agree with many critics that The Great Gatsby is definitely one of the best books that characterizes the “Roaring Twenties” through vivid imagery and integration of Fitzgerald’s personal life experiences that make the story seem so alive. I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone who is up to it, as I feel that it should be at the top of everyone’s "bucket list."

Editor's note: Did you know that Fitzgerald's original title for this book was Trimalchio in West Egg? Wonder how well it would have done under that name?

In addition to the Baz Luhrmann movie now out in theaters, there are also a few other versions, including the one starring a young Robert Redford, Bruce Dern and Mia Farrow from 1974, and the A&E TV version from 2000 starring Toby Stephens, Paul Rudd and Mira Sorvino.

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