There goes another book from my Reading Classics challenge, finally. I first read Gatsby in 10th grade. It wasn’t school assigned, instead I read it on my own. My schools reading curriculum was kinda meh, so I more or less made up my own when it came to classics or what I considered classics to be.
The thing is, I hardly had any memory of the story. What I have is a memory of me sitting on the floor in front of my English classroom reading the book while waiting for the classroom to open in the morning. I know it was summer and I went to school by bike but I didn’t remember much about the story. Watching the Leonardo di Caprio movie reminded me how little of the story stayed with me so it was about time I revisited Gatsby.
It’s a rather short book but I think it was well paced. Nothing was stretched out for longer than it had to be just to fill pages and I appreciate that a lot. Maybe this particular point comes up now as I’m currently also reading Dracula but that’s a point for when I discuss that book.
At this point, I guess everyone knows the story of Gatsby and his tragic love for Daisy. I do think getting older made me appreciate the book more than I did when I was younger. If I can be so blunt as to call everyone in this book an idiot. I say that lovingly but it’s still true. They’re all shallow idiots running after things they want but can’t have an Gatsby is the biggest idiot of them all.
He creates a whole empire just to get this girl Daisy back who is married to another guy. He buys this large mansion, throws parties for the hoi polloi in the hopes of Daisy maybe one day walking in there by accident. He creates this whole fake persona just to please an old inkling.
Meanwhile Daisy married another rich dude who cheats on her. She isn’t happy, plays her husband and also plays Gatsby. She’s just as bad as the rest of them.
I never studied this book in school like so many Americans did so this is just my thoughts on he book and not something school has taught me but I do like the fact that the characters are all so deeply flawed. None of them are particularly good but I do think they paint a very interesting picture of the 1920s, especially the upper classes. For a short time, Gatsby seems to be the epitome of the American Dream but he isn’t. He’s just as miserable as he was when he had nothing back when he was an officer. Or even more so.
He dies alone without friends. Almost nobody is there to attend his funeral, not even Daisy and the money he made, however he made it, is no comfort in death. To me, this serves as a cautionary tale. Money doesn’t bring happiness.
All in all, I really liked this book and it probably isn’t the last time I read it. I’m pretty sure of that. It’s short enough to revisit from time to time.