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
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.