Book Review: The Great Gatsby

Editor’s Note:  Often, the most fun reviews to both read and write are the negative ones.  The following review is fun, although perhaps not for Mr. Fitzgerald (but I think he can take it).  Everyone not named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald…enjoy!




Book: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published: 1925

Genre: Realistic Fiction


The Great Gatsby is a novel about a man who makes a bunch of money, creates a false identity, becomes a classy rich man with the money and false identity, hosts a bunch of crazy parties, then has a relationship with a woman that ruins it all.

This book is not thrilling.  It is very well written and has a strong message about society forcing people to want to be people they are not, but for this particular reader the whole book just fell kind of flat.  Perhaps it was the plot.  Although it has been stated by the author in previous reviews that plot is relatively un-important, this book proves there is more to it than that.  Plot is important, but it can be very simple.  A plot does have to be interesting because that is the first thing the reader notices.  This particular book did not have an interesting plot.  Perhaps it is more interesting for people who are older and think a lot about wealth and love.  In the case of the fourteen-year-old girl who thinks a lot about studies of consciousness and music, the plot held no interest.

Although the message of this book is a significant one, it is also over-used.  It is a message about how society forces people to become what they are not.  There are many people and books that talk about the subject to an excessive extent.  We have come to a point where no matter how important this message is, it gets boring.  The Catcher in the Rye deals with this message, but it is a refreshing look from a teenage boy’s perspective.  The main character’s use of the word ‘phony’ and the fact that he is younger makes the message take a form that is more personable and meaningful to teens of this modern day and age.  This makes it okay to use a message that is being over-used.  In the case of The Great Gatsby, the message was not used in an interesting way, and so the over used message brought boredom to the users.  Perhaps at the time that Fitzgerald was writing this book this was not an over-used topic.  Perhaps he was the first to bring it up.  If he was, perhaps that was what made the book and topic interesting.  As it is now, books using this topic need an extra flair or quirk to make them interesting.

The reader has found this book to live up to the normal low expectations of high rated ‘old’ books.  The first experiences with these types of books involve questions of, ‘Why is this book so famous? It is boring,’ and, ‘what are they saying here? It does not make sense!’  Reading the conversations in the book one often finds oneself with the same feeling one gets from trying to understand a bunch of people talking about a mysterious subject.  This is the same feeling that is experienced when pieces of information fly over the head of the individual and suggestive comments are not understood.  Everyone else understands the private secret conversation, and the understanding nods and rising of eyebrows in the room, except the individual.  In the case of a book this is not supposed to happen!  One of the pleasures of reading a book is that the reader is all-knowing.  The reader often knows the thoughts of the main character and sometimes those surrounding him or her.  The reader can play fortuneteller as the author foreshadows and the reader puts together the pieces before the main character does.  In the case of this book the private secret conversations are going on in full rage with the reader sitting on the sidelines trying to keep up, and maintaining a constant feeling of ‘whaaa?’ Perhaps this particular reader is not sophisticated enough, or old enough, or whatever enough to comprehend.  Regardless much of the book was very confusing.

This book simply does not have elements of an interesting book.  It does not have an interesting plot.  It does not have an interesting message, and it does not have an interesting style.  What is not boring is confusing, and what is not confusing is boring.  Perhaps if the confusion were eliminated, more interest could be brought in.  Perhaps if the reader were a different type of person, more interest would be present. Perhaps if the characters drove around in a convertible Volkswagen bug from the future, shaped like a giant bumblebee, more interest could be found.  As it is none was found.


Book Review: Wizard’s First Rule

Alan M.

Book: Wizard’s First Rule

Author: Terry Goodkind

Published: 1994

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Richard Cypher was but a woods guide from the Westland when magic was introduced into his already troubled life. Now, with the help of an old wizard, he must meet his destiny and take on the role of The Seeker of Truth or see those he loves most perish in the tracks of tyranny.

Wizard’s First Rule depicts life as an expedition that one goes through. Goodkind writes this novel as one would imagine life. Life is much like Richard’s journey. There are unexpected turns and obstacles that may be the highlights of one’s being and overcoming them is all that matters. There are sudden new factors, whether they are human or not, that come in and turn one’s world upside down. There are cravings that one cannot resist and that might cause  essential destruction to a person, or many just to ease the yearning. There are also great losses. People lead their lives feeling that when they reach their end the have served a purpose, they want to feel fulfilled.

The last box of Orden in the book represents what we all want in life. Something that we feel will fulfill us. Make us feel like all we have gone through is worth it. This is much like someone looking to become the CEO of a law firm. After having started from the bottom they begin to slowly reach their goal, and what they may believe is their purpose at that moment in time. When they actually obtain the position of CEO they got it. They have obtained the last box of Orden. Whether they keep the position and have no one pose a threat, or lose all they had is the question.

The only way to assure the “prize,” the “title” is not taken away by another is to, well, get rid of them. Life truly is “eat or be eaten.” Goodkind not only expresses his emotions on this way of looking towards the life we promote and help grow, but goes as far as to show  himself through powerful characters. These characters explain how Goodkind feels that the human race finds beauty and takes pride in animals, plants, and other humans that have seemingly murdered others. Many will find the tree that towers over all the others the greater, yet little do they realize that they are admiring the tree that is keeping the sun’s warm touch from others and causing them to die. This tree is killing other trees to keep itself alive. That is how life works. The competition must be taken down in order to open a path that will lead all those victorious to success, and leave those defeated to wither and die. Sooner or later, however, we all die and when that day comes the next line of victory-tasting specimen will come forth and simply act upon what they know. They will admire the victors.

This is one of the reasons it is so hypocritical to try to cheer for the underdog. The only reason anyone would do this is for them to get some sort of satisfaction from knowing that they are rebelling against what others believe. The only reason they are doing this is to be different. There might be a chance that they feel this way because of the pity they have for the underdog, but that’s even worse. Take away a man’s pride and he is left with nothing. They automatically forfeit the game of life.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who are looked down upon by whatever group of people may be “in” at the moment. That is a fact of life that can’t be escaped. Everyone loves to feel superior. That’s why they insult others, as well as why they complement one another. Knowing one can control the emotions of another makes every human ecstatic. Everyone is much more alike the corrupted kings and queens of Goodkind’s world than they may choose to accept because of that inescapable fact. Goodkind’s writing is a web of truths one cannot deny. This concisely yet eternally described world shows us more about human nature than one may ever notice.

Humans only want to find the purpose in their life so once they perish they can feel they have fulfilled their potential. That is the one difference between the journey of the Seeker and the journey we humans see as our lives. While Richard may be stopping a tyrant from killing more and destroying all, what do we do? We make each other’s lives miserable and occupy ourselves with trivial tasks. This brings up the question of whether or not any of us truly have a purpose in life. Do humans actually have something to live for?