The Great Gatsby

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Here’s another literary classic. In some article on Quora someone claimed “The Great Gatsby” to be a great and beautiful book that anyone should read.

I’ve watched at least two movie adaptations of this book. The latest one with Leonardo DiCaprio was quite good. The book is a short one and as it is a classic from 1925 I grabbed a free Kindle edition of it.

It is a heartbreaking story of a poor man who falls in love with a woman from a rich family. He disappears for some years, earns some medals in the first World War and tries very hard to earn enough money to be worthy enough to marry his love. Unfortunately she gets bored and marries a rich man before Gatsby, the poor boy turned rich gentleman, can return and ask her to marry him. He tries to make her leave her husband, who’s having an affair with another woman, but fails. The moral of the story is that the rich destroy the lives of the poor without noticing or even caring.

I was a bit disappointed by the book. I had expected a deeper experience. The book didn’t add anything that might have been missing from the movies. There were no deeper explorations of the inner workings of the protagonists. The whole book felt somehow superficial. But somehow this superficiality is true to the story about people living their superficial lives and looking at the rest of the world from a superior position that prevents them from seeing any details.

So while I didn’t like that book much because I couldn’t submerge myself in its story, I think, the author — F. Scott Fitzgerald — succeeded to convey how a snobby upper class looked at the world around them in the early 20th century. From that point of view, the book is interesting and it stirs some emotions of sorrow for the poor ones and contempt for the careless ones.