Thursday 9 March 2017

Reviewing the Classics #8 The Great Gatsby

Goodreads Summary:

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Regarded as Fitzgerald's masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the "Jazz Age", as well as a timeless cautionary critique of the American dream.

For my first classic of the year, I have decided to go for one of my favourites! I first read this book as part of my English Literature degree, and I loved it just as much then as I do now. However. As Alma books sent me a gorgeous new copy, I decided it was time for a reread. The book follows Nick Carraway, a man who has recently moved to New York. Nick soon meets his neighbour, Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man with a mysterious past. Of course there are a number of themes that run throughout this short novel, including the American Dream, wealth and social classes. I feel as if this would be too essay like if I went into too much detail about the themes, so I am going to stick with what I do best and talk about the story line and characters!

When the average person thinks of a classic, they probably think of books with hundreds of pages that are often long winded and contain archaic language. One thing that I love about The Great Gatsby is how short it is. I do feel as if some classics can drag out and get a little boring, so I love how The Great Gatsby is short and to the point while still feeling that it is enough to fully immerse you in the story, and not feel as if it is too short to tell Gatsby's story. I feel as if this is the perfect book for anyone who wants to read a classic, but finds Jane Ausen and Charlotte Bronte's books to be a little overwhelming, as this book can easily be read in one sitting.

I have always adored the setting of The Great Gatsby, as I love reading about The Jazz Age. I think everyone has wished at some point that they could attend a party just like Gatsby's, and I love reading the party scenes! I also love how American this book is, and I especially love that it is set in New York.

The characters in this book are interesting, with their different beliefs and class status'. I love that non of these characters are perfect, as even Nick has his own problems. I think that the character who we all mutually hate the most is Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan. Along with cheating on his wife, Tom is extremely classist ans racist, believing in white supremacy. Tom believe he is better than others because he is a rich white man, and the book makes it extremely easy to hate him. I think it's interesting that although Tom is a terrible person, he doesn't suffer any consequences for it, which really shows the truth that money talks, and rich, corrupt people tend to do well in society.

One thing that has always drawn me to Gatsby's character is how mysterious he is. Few facts are known about his past, and each character who Nick comes across seems to have different theories about his past. Although Nick describes Gatsby as being his friend, he is not even aware that he still has living family members, and is shocked when Gatsby's dad shows up.

The Great Gatsby has certainly earned it's title of being a classic, and I love how many of the issues raised are still relevant almost 100 years later. This book will forever be one of my all time favourite classics!

The Great Gatsby is now available to purchase!

 Alma Classics  | Amazon Book Depository 

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