Review: The Great Gatsby

Warning: Spoilers!

Friday, October 9th, 2020: The Great Gatsby

INTRODUCTION Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is an American classic written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. It has 180 pages and nine chapters total, manifested on the big screen exactly two times – once in 2013 (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire) and once in 1974 (starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford). Often referred to as “the supreme American novel,” Gatsby has asserted itself as an icon of twentieth-century literature.

SUMMARY Gatsby recounts the thrilling tale of Jay Gatsby, a self-made man of opulence and boundless optimism. The story details a series of events occurring in the summer of 1922 – events that initially seem inconspicuously innocent but, as the pages go by, turn inexorably tragic. It all begins when one Nick Carraway, from whose point of view this story is told, moves to West Egg in the bond business. His modest new home sits across the bay from East Egg, where his cousin Daisy and her affluent husband Tom Buchanan reside. On his first visit to their luxurious, mansion-like abode, he meets Jordan Baker, an artful young woman who plays golf for a living, and they develop a mutual acquaintance, a relationship that only matures as the story progresses. 

As he becomes accustomed to life in West Egg, Nick learns of the mysterious nature of his next-door neighbor, a man by the name of Jay Gatsby. He lives in a large mansion and is rumored to possess ten times the wealth of the Buchanans, who are considered to make up one of the richest families for a few hundred miles. Nick befriends him when he is invited to one of Gatsby’s notoriously extravagant parties as a guest. As the two men develop a stronger bond, Nick learns that Gatsby and Daisy had once been engaged a long time ago. They had been happy together, and when a young, penurious Gatsby enlisted in the army, she was quite content to wait for him; but as time passed and the initial charm and infatuation that came with the engagement eroded away, she left him and his lower-class tastes behind to become an aristocrat as a Buchanan. When Nick realizes Gatsby still aspires to be with Daisy – that Gatsby had accumulated a fortune only to accommodate her upper-class taste – he warns his friend that his naivety will get him nowhere – in vain, of course. And as the consequences of Gatsby’s dream ensue – as love kindles hate, as faith arouses misgiving, as hope grows into despair – what begins as a mere childish yearning quickly becomes a breeding ground for deception, betrayal, suicide, and murder. 

REVIEW I would give this book a 10/10 because there is so much to get out of it, no matter how many times you’ve read it in the past. There’s always another way to look at Gatsby, or Daisy, or Nick – anyone or anything, for that matter. No detail is wasted; everything comes together in the end.