Book review: The great gatsby

The great gatsbySo, who’s excited after watching the movie trailer for ‘The Great Gatsby?’

I certainly was, particularly after looking at the excesses of the roaring twenties with its glitzy parties and hedonistic lifestyle, which are enough to make my legs tap and hands dance in the air. And of course, it is all about the flapper girls. Following the return of the 60s fashion trend, thanks to Mad Men.  I was literally swooning over the short hair, straight-cut dress, cloche hat and boyish charms of the flapper girls.

On a recent trip to a second-hand bookstore, I spotted the book and took it as a sign it is time to read the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was as good as gold.

“Her voice is full of money,” he (Jay Gatsby) said suddenly.

That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the tingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it. High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…”

This has been made into such a classic American literature that academics and many students have read, studied and analyzed the text inside out.

Flapper girls

This is because of its overarching theme about the American Dream, which was carefully constructed and embodied by the book’s larger-than-life character Jay Gatsby. He is a former war veteran who clambered his way up into the upper echelons of the society as a self-made businessman.

“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced- or seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.”

Under Gatsby’s aloof appearance, the self-made businessman was single-mindedly obsessed with his former flame Daisy Buchanan despite knowing that she is married.

‘He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he reva

lued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs.”

But all that glitters is not gold. When Gatsby’s rags-to-riches story ended up in a tragedy, I felt a pang of sadness when I realized at the heart of the American Dream is but an empty and materialistic fantasy. This might be a reflection of the 1920s reality but does not seem too remotely different from the state of today’s capitalist society.

That is probably what I love when it comes to reading classics – evergreen, thought provoking and records a cultural moment in history.

Here is the film’s teaser to get you guys rolling in the vibrancy of the post-war decadent lifestyle and check out the flapper dresses!


21 thoughts on “Book review: The great gatsby

  1. A sure sign that this book will endure is its theme that it is as true today as it was in the milieu it was written. I love this novel.

  2. I think the story will be subjugated to the glitz surrounding the movie, but I’m still really interested to see it; I’m a hopeless fan of the ’20’s. The GG really shows of Fitzgerald’s personal frustration over not being included as “one of the swells”, probably harkening back to his failed Princeton days…

    1. I think loads of people are hopeless fan of the 20s, the flapper girls, jazz age, lindy hop etc. It’s just so much fun and joy to re-live and re-create that era. I think Fitzgerald was able to write in such great details was because of his up close, personal experiences. His wife, Zelda, was a flapper girl herself and they did at one period of time lived an opulent lifestyle.

  3. It’s not coming out until Christmas? Damn that’s a long wait. Loved the book when I did it at Uni, and have been looking forward to the film since a) I found out it was Baz Luhrman directing it and b) I saw the teaser trailer, ages ago. It looks brilliant. Maybe DeCaprio will finally get an Oscar out of this one?

  4. Great Gatsby is such an amazing book, I studied it at school and I’ve re-read it at least five times since! I would definitely recommend other books written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially the collection of small stories ‘Flappers and Philosophers’. I find the way Fitzgerald portrays the corrupt, glittering world of the 20’s gruesomely fascinating!

    I have my fingers crossed that the film of Great Gatsby will live up to my expectations, but I’ve loved Baz Luhrmann’s other films so it should be good! Thanks for sharing the trailer as well, I hadn’t seen it yet 🙂

    1. The Great Gatsby is such a lovely and well-read classic packed with such vivid descriptions of its lavish parties and lifestyle that I reckon will make for a colorful movie to watch. I’m glad you’ve recommended other Fitzgerald books because they do sound fairly interesting and would like to give them a shot.

  5. Thanks for the preview! Definitely gonna see this, I love Leo, he’s so gorgeous! I love your observations of this classic and I agree with you. Nothing wrong with having material things, but when we make it our happiness, our world, that’s where we live in illusion. And it can all be taken away so easily, if we’re not grounded in what’s real and true.

  6. Interesante las peliculas que se muestran aqui, me parece una buena pagina , quiza hay que mejorar el diseño de la pagina pero las peliculas a mostrar son muy buenas , exitos =)

  7. Omygoodness, what a beautifully written book. I could totally overdose on Fitzgerald if left alone with his books for a few weeks! The Great Gatsby is a fabulous example of the brilliance of his writing. Everything in life has a tinge of beautiful tragedy when I am reading one of his books. I loved Robert Redford as Gatsby but have a feeling I’ll also love DiCaprio in the role.

    1. I love most of the movies by Leonardo DiCaprio too! And with Baz Luhrmann directing such a classical American literature, I honestly cannot imagine how bad this movie could turn out to be (:

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