Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Gatsby

Did you remember that Tom and Daisy had a kid?
Pammy is her name. She’s three.
It’s odd, the things you notice when you reread a classic. I’m now convinced that the only reason the book is assigned to high school kids is its length. For example,

A) If I didn’t have kids of my own, I don’t think I’d have noticed the kid, since the Buchanans don’t seem to, either. I would have noticed Tom breaking his mistress’s nose for mentioning his wife, though. It, too, came as a surprise to me on the reread (am I really such an inattentive first-time reader?).

B) If I hadn’t moved to New York after living in Chicago and Minneapolis, some of the West vs. East would have been greeted with a “whatever.” Makes sense now, though.

C) If I hadn’t passed my thirtieth birthday a while ago, I would have rolled my eyes at this observation:

“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.” (177)

Which is part of this theme:

Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known. (59)

“You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. (154)

Put Gatsby on your list of 100 books to read five years from now. It’ll be worth it (again). I’m sure I’ll be picking up recommendations from all of you, too.


Emily Cross said...

I think this is on my list (or it should be) sounds really interesting. great review!

Amanda said...

This book is on my list because they never made us read it in school. I look forward to it.

moonrat said...

wow. i've read this twice--once in hs, once as an adult--and don't remember either of these points.

guess they're classics for a reason :)

thanks for the review!

Rachel said...

My book group read this a couple of years ago -- and I just loved it! I'm so glad Stephanie (whose list is on here) suggested we read it, it's now counted among my top five all-time favorites. I wasn't the same kind of reader in 7th grade that I am today, and didn't appreciate the language.

One thing we picked up on, which I certainly missed in middle school: all the little hints that Nick is gay. Mrs. Shadiow certainly didn't talk about that!!

Really, it was a treat to read it again.

Jen A said...

I definitely want to re-read Gatsby. It's been a few years, maybe 10 even! My husband recently re-read Catcher in the Rye, and he said that is a really interesting experience, just noticing things you didn't understand in high school...

Merry Monteleone said...

I've read it twice, too... though both times before I had kids... now I want to read it again!!! I have another Fitzgerald on my 100 list, but I might see if I can squeeze this in too...

Great review. Thanks :-)

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Good review (I like the quirky reviews being gathered here, where no one has to write in any one particular style), and very interesting points! I read Gatsby for the first time several years ago and loved it. Most people I know who didn't like it were forced to read it too early. So what should we MAKE kids read, knowing we might be turning them off to whatever books we "prescribe"?