Fact, Fiction

The Reasons I Love The Great Gatsby

This week a couple of new photos from the upcoming adaptation of The Great Gatsby popped up in my news feed on Facebook. Of course, this got me thinking about the novel, and I thought I’d share a couple of reasons why this book has become one of my all-time favorites.

Like a lot of people, I first read this book in early high school.  The book was required reading (sophomore year?) for a unit on American Literature, and we discussed it extensively in class.

Movie still courtesy Warner Bros.

Movie still courtesy Warner Bros.

We even watched the Robert Redford/ Mia Farrow movie. No one complained about that, trust me. I liked the book then. I thought it was good, very interesting, and of course a stirring look at an important era in history. And I love history.  Anyone will tell you that.

However, it’s only as an adult that this book has become one of my favorite books–if not my absolute favorite. I’ve read the book about five times since high school, and every few years I come back for another read. There’s something about Fitzgerald’s writing that draws me in over and over again. In fact, I’ve become such a fan of his writing that over the years I’ve bought or downloaded almost all of his other works. They’re good too, but never as good as The Great Gatsby.

Something about that books speaks to me over and over again. Maybe I’m a 1920’s flapper girl trapped in the wrong era ( some people have told me that). Maybe I have a soft spot for broken characters (all the people in this work are). Or maybe it’s just the writing that haunts me like a literary ghost.

But here are two other main reasons I like it:

1. Wistfulness reigns supreme. Many of the characters in this book seem to yearn for something that has long passed–and they can’t get it no matter how hard they try.  Just ask J. Gatsby. He spends his whole life trying to create something that will never come true. I know a lot of people who do that. I might even have been one of them, on occasion.

2. What is true on the outside is not true on the inside. Most everyone in that book acts like someone they are not. Daisy pretends to be the happy socialite. Gatsby acts like the unflappable tycoon. Jordan pretends to be a deep person. Even the supporting, minor characters (like the party goers) act like they are something they are not. I see a lot of that in our society. Even today. Plenty of people pretend to be something better than what they really are on the inside.

I have no idea if I’ll like the latest adaptation of this movie, but I know I’ll go see it for sure. How can I not?

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