Once in awhile you hear whispers of something mentioned over and over until its more like a dull hum in the background and you can’t help but notice it. I think that’s what happened with Gatsby and all these great things he was apparently doing. I will say that Mr. Gatsby is pretty great. He’s a guy that you feel for and understand that he hasn’t done everything the right way, but you aren’t mad at him for it. Even if you do blame him for what’s gone wrong in his little rich neck of Long Island you are mostly proud or envious of him enough to not worry too much about it.
I will say the book does have some good characters and complicated love stories. There’s a kind of noir element to the subtle mafia sub-story and a few deaths thrown in there. There are a few men beatin on their women. But even describing it that way makes it sound much more exciting than it actually is. Basically Gatsby threw a bunch of really great parties in order to get the girl of his dreams. But he was in love with the dream, not the girl.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about the book. There are a bunch of soap opera happenings with the affluent neighborhood that he is in and there is a lot of American Dreaming going on in the head of our narrator and minor character, who is Mr Gatsby’s young neighbor. I’m not sure what to think of this book exactly. F Scott Fitzgeral was an American golden boy of sorts who set the work in a sort of utopian New York Suburb. I don’t mean utopian as in it was a perfect place, I mean it in the sense that it was possibly the best place on Earth. People credit the book for having beautifully described the “Jazz Age” of the US. It was a time before the depression, cars where just getting everywhere, it probably was a fantastical place compared to the rest of the world at the time, but it still seems kind of boring to me. I think everyone is in love with the fact that Fitzgerald wrote a good story and really nailed the American aspect of it. So Fitzgerald wrote the greatest book about America, the greatest place in the world – especially New York in the 20’s, therefore this book is the greatest book in the world. I guess you can’t argue with that logic.
Who am I to doubt a guy who spent the rest of his days palling around Europe with Hemingway. 10/10 greatest book ever.