Nataliya's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
3672777
's review
May 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-childhood-bookshelves, 2013-reads, i-also-saw-the-film, books-from-childhood-revisited
Read 2 times. Last read April 28, 2013 to May 3, 2013.


Oh Gatsby, you old sport, you poor semi-delusionally hopeful dreamer with 'some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life', focusing your whole self and soul on that elusive money-colored green light - a dream that shatters just when you are *this* close to it.



Jay Gatsby, who dreamed a dream with the passion and courage few possess - and the tragedy was that it was a wrong dream colliding with reality that was even more wrong - and deadly.

Just like the Great Houdini - the association the title of this book so easily invokes - you specialized in illusions and escape. Except even the power of most courageous dreamers can be quite helpless to allow us escape the world, our past, and ourselves, giving rise to one of the most famous closing lines of a novel.
'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'
Dear Gatsby, not everything I liked back when I was fourteen has withstood the test of time¹ - but you clearly did, and as I get older, closer to your and Nick Carraway's age, your story gathers more dimensions and more tragedy, fleshing out so much more from what I thought of as a tragic love story when I was a child - turning into a great American tragedy.
¹ I hang my head in shame at my ability to still belt out an enthusiastic (albeit poorly rendered) version of '...Baby One More Time' when it comes on the radio (provided, of course, that my car windows are safely up).

I blame it on my residual teenage hormones.


Jay Gatsby, you barged head-on to achieve and conquer your American dream, not stopping until your dreams became your reality, until you reinvented yourself with the dizzying strength of your belief. Your tragedy was that you equated your dream with money, and money with happiness and love. And honestly, given the messed up world we live in, you were not that far from getting everything you thought you wanted, including the kind of love that hinges on the green dollar signs.

And you *almost* saw it, you poor bastard, but in the end you chose to let your delusion continue, you poor soul.

Poor Gatsby! Yours is the story of a young man who suddenly rose to wealth and fame, running like a hamster on the wheel amassing wealth for the sake of love, for the sake of winning the heart of a Southern belle, the one whose 'voice is full of money' - in a book written by a young man who suddenly rose to wealth and fame, desperately running on the hamster wheel of 'high life' to win the heart of his own Southern belle. Poor Gatsby, and poor F. Scott Fitzgerald - the guy who so brilliantly described it all, but who continued to live the life his character failed to see for what it was.



The Great Gatsby is a story about the lavish excesses meant to serve every little whim of the rich and wannabe-rich in the splendid but unsatisfying in their shallow emptiness glitzy and gaudy post-war years, and the resulting suffocation under the uselessness and unexpected oppressiveness of elusive American dream in the time when money was plenty and the alluring seemingly dream life was just around the corner, just within reach.

But first and foremost, it is a story of disillusionment with dreams that prove to be shallow and unworthy of the dreamer - while at the same time firmly hanging on to the idea of the dream, the ability to dream big, and the stubborn tenacity of the dreamer, 'an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again' .



This is why Gatsby is still so relevant in the world we live in - almost a hundred years after Fitzgerald wrote it in the Roaring Twenties - the present-day world that still worships money and views it as a substitute for the American dream, the world that hinges on materialism, the world that no longer frowns on the gaudiness and glitz of the nouveau riche.

In this world Jay Gatsby, poor old sport, with his huge tasteless mansion and lavish tasteless parties and in-your-face tasteless car and tasteless pink suit would be, perhaps, quietly sniggered at - but would have fit in without the need for aristocratic breeding - who cares if he has the money and the ability to throw parties worthy of reality show fame???



Because in the present world just the fact of having heaps of money makes you worthy - and therefore the people whose 'voices are full of money', who are 'gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor', people who genuinely believe that money makes them worthy and invincible are all too common. Tom and Daisy Buchanan would be proud of them.

And wannabe Gatsbys pour their capacity to dream into chasing the shallow dream of dollar signs, nothing more.
'They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.'


This book somehow hit the right note back when I read it when I was fourteen, and hit even truer note now, deeply resonating with me a decade short of a hundred years since it was written. If you read it for school years ago, I ask you to pick it up and give its pages another look - and it may amaze you.

Five green-light stars in the fog at the end of a dock.
709 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Great Gatsby.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 2, 2010 – Shelved
April 28, 2013 – Started Reading
April 28, 2013 –
page 1
0.56%
May 3, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 78) (78 new)


message 1: by Nan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nan I remember reading this book in high school and hating it with a passion. But, then, I hated most everything I read in that American lit class, and I think it may have been because the teacher was starting to hate it all a bit, too.

During my Master's in English work, I gave in and took a class entirely on F. Scott Fitzgerald. That class convinced me that I love him.

I, too, can't wait to see the movie. My husband wants to see it in 3D. :)


Yoana Voicu ahh the movie looks so good


Riya I remember not liking it very much when I read it as a junior in high school. I couldn't connect with or relate to any of the characters in the story.
Then, surprisingly, I found myself reading this book again (this time - willingly!) last year and I was amazed at what a different reading experience it was for me this time around. I really, really enjoyed it and was sad when I reached the ending, lamenting how short this book is. I now own a copy of this novel and plan on rereading every couple of yeats.
Funny how a person's reading tastes can change so much in just a few years.


Brandon I'm really looking forward to your re-read review. I read this earlier in the year for the first time and fell in love with it. Can't wait for the movie next month :)


Forrest I felt much the same way when I recently read and reviewed The Great Gatsby. Amazing how our perspective changes.

Can't wait to see your review!


Cecily 3D? Seriously? I think it will make a great film, and it seems well cast, but surely it's not in 3D.


message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim It's definitely in 3D, Cecily.


Cecily Hmm. I think I'll go old-school and see it in only two.


message 9: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Same here. The only full length feature film I've watched in 3D was "Hugo" and I didn't really like the experience. In 3D everything is either up very close or the same distance further away, which is not at all like regular vision. I want to see "The Great Gatsby", if only because some of it was filmed in the park I walk in every Sunday, but Luhrmann is a hit and miss director as far as I'm concerned and there's every chance I won't like it very much.


Henry Avila Good review,good book,I wonder, good movie?Nataliya, made in Australia!


message 11: by Joy (last edited May 12, 2013 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Great review and I like that you added photos from the movie! I plan to read it again. I remember the Robert Redford version of the movie too (loved it!) which shows how truly old I am! ;-)


message 12: by Nan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nan Yes. Your review captures this book that I love so much.


message 13: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy I found my copy from high school; the pages are yellowed and I paid $1.50 for it!


Michael Refreshing review. Nice to find a book you once favored in youth sings a deeper song now n your teetering elderly state. Nice way you captured what I thought of as a tragic love story when I was a child - turning into a great American tragedy.


message 15: by Nan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nan I just got back from watching the movie in 3D. I loved it. The 3D elements worked. The things they did with visual text . . .


message 16: by Sesana (new)

Sesana I need to read this, quickly, because I would like to see the movie in theaters. I never did read it in school, but that may well be a good thing. Fabulous review, as always!


Jeffrey Keeten This is still one of my favorite books. I watched the movie yesterday in 3D and thought it was great. The critics are really beating it up, but as the movie progressed I noticed that the crowd was entranced by the movie.


Steve The studio should be paying you for such a splendid review. Granted, it was the book you were reviewing, not the movie, but you used their stills, at least.


Nataliya Thanks everyone for all the praise! I have been late catching up on comments because of all the exhausting night shifts I have been working recently.

@Nan - Now you almost make me wish I had seen this movie in 3-D. I opted for the good old 2-D version because I did not want the headache of trying to balance the 3-D glasses on top of my regular ones.

@Steve - I will gladly take any money the studio would pay me ;) Those student loans I amassed studying medicine are not going to pay themselves...

@Jeffrey - yes, I have seen the not-too-enthusiastic reviews by the critics, but I thought DiCaprio pulled off playing Gatsby quite well (unexpectedly! I would never picture him as Gatsby, but he managed somehow). There were overdone and too-glitzy aspects in this movie - but they reflect the overdone glitzy atmosphere of Gatsby's parties (and, from what it seems, the Jazz Age) very well.


Samadrita This is such a wonderful review, Nataliya. It makes me want to read this again and figure out what I missed the first time.


Rakhi Dalal Great review, Nataliya!

But first and foremost, it is a story of disillusionment with dreams that prove to be shallow and unworthy of the dreamer....When I read it, it was the reason precisely why I didn't like it much.But now after going through your review, it occurs that I might have missed something!...


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Thank you for a good review! I have planned to read this one for a long time, but somehow it has always fallen into the shadow of others. But now, I have to read it!


Nataliya Thanks, Samadrita, Rakhi and Linda!

I think the reread of this book after teen years helped me realize the tragedy of the story so much more than when I lacked any life experience.


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Amazing review as always, Nataliya! :D


Nataliya David wrote: "Amazing review as always, Nataliya! :D"

Thanks, David!


message 26: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy There is an article about the movie and Carey Mulligan in particular in this months Vogue. I happened to see it at my gym. She is so pretty and looks like a great Daisy!


Nataliya Joy wrote: "There is an article about the movie and Carey Mulligan in particular in this months Vogue. I happened to see it at my gym. She is so pretty and looks like a great Daisy!"

I agree - she was perfect as Daisy. She managed to convey the combination of fragile beauty with ruthless carelessness that Daisy had. I thought she was well cast in this film.


message 28: by Nan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nan Seeing this film adaptation, I finally felt like I understood Daisy's decisions in that hotel room. Mulligan was an excellent Daisy in my mind.


message 29: by Kara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara Westmoreland Your review makes the book and movie sound very similar unlike some books and movies.


Nataliya Kara wrote: "Your review makes the book and movie sound very similar unlike some books and movies."

The movie was indeed pretty similar to the book in content and in tone - I guess, given that so many people have read this book for school, there was little point in changing the storyline.


message 31: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Glad to hear the movie is pretty much like the book. I hated how they changed Silver Linings Playbook when they made the movie (I was not prepared at all - I expected to love the movie too).


Nataliya Joy wrote: "Glad to hear the movie is pretty much like the book. I hated how they changed Silver Linings Playbook when they made the movie (I was not prepared at all - I expected to love the movie too)."

I am about to watch 'Silver Linings Playbook' film, actually. Was it not good? or was it just not as good as the book? (I haven't read that one - yet.)


message 33: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy No, the movie is good and you will probably like it if you haven't read the book first. They changed some key things I loved about the book. I recommend you read the book first.


message 34: by Skylar (new) - added it

Skylar I can't wait to watch the movie ASAP after I read it!!


Nataliya Skylar wrote: "I can't wait to watch the movie ASAP after I read it!!"

I hope you'll like both the book and the film, Skylar!


Nandakishore Varma Unfortunately, this is one book which fell flat for me after all the hype when I read it in my early twenties - maybe since I could not sympathise with Gatsby. I used to hate tragic heroes at that point of time (The Count of Monte Cristo, and his ruthless methods of extracting vengeance, was more my style). I wonder what would be my reaction if I read it now.


Nataliya Nandakishore wrote: "Unfortunately, this is one book which fell flat for me after all the hype when I read it in my early twenties - maybe since I could not sympathise with Gatsby. I used to hate tragic heroes at that..."

I think you'd like it more now. There's something enchanting about Gatsby's ability to dream huge, regardless of the realities of the world around him. It's like he, a creature of the corrupt world, is able to hold on to a shred of innocence that the rest of this universe has long since abandoned. He's single-minded, yes - not unlike Edmond Dantes - but he focuses that singlemindedness on his mistaken ideals.


Haifa Great review.


Nataliya Haifa wrote: "Great review."

Thanks!


message 40: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Did you watch Silver Linings Playbook?


Nataliya Joy wrote: "Did you watch Silver Linings Playbook?"

No, I ended up deciding to read the book first, so I need to get my hands on it first.


message 42: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Nataliya wrote: "Joy wrote: "Did you watch Silver Linings Playbook?"

No, I ended up deciding to read the book first, so I need to get my hands on it first."


Good idea, the book is much better than the movie. Not that the movie is bad it's just that they changed things that shouldn't have been changed in my opinion. Hope you like the book!


Viktorija Great review (:
This story made me so sad.


Nataliya Viktorija wrote: "Great review (:
This story made me so sad."


Thanks, Viktorija! It is a sad story indeed, that of wasted talent and ambition and the futile pursuit of an unworthy dream. And yet it is so good.


Diane Love this book. And love your descriptive 5 star rating.


Ivonne Rovira Wonderful review!


message 47: by Paria (new)

Paria Jahanbakhsh Wonderful review...


Andaleeb Love your review ! Silver Lining Playbook is good Unfortunately I happened to watch the movie first which i liked.(Lawrence &Cooper did a good job)So when I read the book I kept waiting for situations and events to happen , before I realized what had been done !!! The book was less dramatic , more real -life like ....I loved it !


Catherine Crowther Love this review!


Nataliya Catherine wrote: "Love this review!"

Thanks!


« previous 1
back to top