The Great Gatsby

In creating my list of novels to read (via audio book), I analyzed and combined several lists:  Times Top 10, Top 100 From Real People and the Modern Day Readers list from the panel and from readers.  Only two books make all four lists when combined and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was the higher weighted of the two.  This is incredibly impressive considering The Great Gatsby sold only 25,000 copies from the time of it’s release in 1925 until Fitzgerald’s death 15 years later.

Fitzgerald’s writing style and literary skill is impressive in this book. The characters are so rich and vivid that you feel as if you are at a party with them and know exactly with whom you should and should not mingle. The book exposes the American Dream as materialism, pride, and class snobbery with a side dish of hypocrisy, pure cruelty and gross relational insincerity.   While the book presents a cynical view, it is a lens that could equally be applied to modern American culture and many do.  The lack of trust and honesty by the characters speaks so loudly that all other potentially redeeming qualities such as Gatsby’s attempt at sacrificial love echo back the much deeper self-centered obsession instead.

I enjoyed the book but was a little disappointed by the ending, even though it was congruent with the rest of the story.  You want to hope things will turn out better despite the evidence to the contrary.

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  1. Kathy Gilmore’s avatar

    I read your review with interest. I haven’t read that book since college. More years ago than I care to think about. At the time I thought the characters were shallow and hard to care about. I don’t know why but I have a penchant for liking the people I read about. You have inspired me to read it again just to see what almost 50 years will do for my perspective.
    Have you read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young? If so I would be interested in your thoughts on it. The prose is beautiful but I have some problems with the theology.

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  2. Todd Boyum’s avatar

    Thanks for your comments, Kathy. I have read The Shack – in fact, I’ve shared abit about it in the blog a few times.

    http://viewedmercies.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/the-wastefulness-and-faithfulness-of-god/

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