There are four reasons I have for reading this novel: One, because it’s a classic. Two, because yet another movie is coming out and three, because I love the 20’s! My twitter bio reads: “A lost soul from the 1920’s”. Why? I love the fashion (flapper dresses! Jazz era! The golden age!) and strangely when speaking about the 20’s, Daisy Buchanan as the ultimate 20’s girl always seem to come up. Lastly, I had a conversation with a late friend about reading classics, after he saw my status on facebook about reading The Count of Monte Cristo. He told me he loves the classics and are at the moment re-reading The Great Gatsby – and told me I just have to read it. I’m just sorry I didn’t get to read it before he passed, because I would have loved to discuss it with him!
The story is centered around the nouvea riche of the 1920’s, like Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man who loves to throw extravagant parties for his “friends”. These friends who don’t know the real Gatsby and speculates about him and his past, and so does the reader, as Fitzgerald paints Jay as an enigma. Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan, an ex-girlfriend of his, who is now married to Tom Buchanan. He gets Nick, the narrator, to arrange an accidental meeting for the two of them and they fall in love, again. However, the beautiful Daisy is portrayed as a stereotypical pretty woman, who uses men to get what they want. She obviously still loves Gatsby, yet she doesn’t want to leave her husband for him. She is also irresponsible, when she kills a woman while driving and Gatsby takes the blame for her. This woman is also Tom’s mistress! Eventually the woman’s husband finds out and kills him. Nick arranges the funeral and finds it frustrating (and sad) that none of his “friends” showed up for the funeral, not even Daisy.
Reading the novel, about the lifestyle, the characters and the parties I found it superficial at first, until I realized that every aspect of this classic has a deeper meaning in some way or another. There are a lot of discussion points, like Daisy’s irresponsibility as well as Nick’s friend, Jordan’s (who thinks it’s okay not be a careful driver, because she relies on someone else to be). There are also the topic of friendship – why were all these people pretending to be Jay’s friends? Jay’s infatuation with Daisy for all these years, i.e he bought a house to be closer to her and came looking for her after she left him when he went to the military. He took the blame for something she did and eventually died because of it. I could go on and on about a lot of discussion topics this novel brought up, yet all I can say is I loved reading it. F.Scott Fitzgerald described the era so well, and his writing is good too. If you want to pick up a classic about that decade, this one is a good pick – and a quick read too!