Regarded as one of the great American novels, The Great Gatsby is a commentary on the glitz and glamour of the 1920s and the underlying sleaze and shallowness of the Jazz Age. It is also a love story and a tale of one man’s rags to riches.
Through the narration of Nick Carraway, we are taken into the rich, colourful excess of the Long Island party scene of the 1920s, where we encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her macho millionaire husband and the one and only Jay Gatsby, a man shrouded in hushed rumour and dark mystery.
What annoys me most about this book is that I actually enjoyed it. I was sure this was going to be another Catcher in the Rye where nothing really happens and it is simply an insight into one period of time in America. And, in fact, for large parts of the book this is exactly what it is, a commentary on house parties, hotel room excess and the flippant cares of the wealthy.
However, although ignorant, frustrating and downright annoying, the characters in The Great Gatsby and incredibly absorbing, and although the actual story of a great man’s attempt to recapture a lost love takes an age to get going and then ends incredibly abruptly, it is still brilliant and highly charged with raw emotion.
As a pure story the plot is simple and bland, but it is the characters placed within these happenings that makes this book what it is. If nothing else, The Great Gatsby gives us The Great Gatsby and it is worth reading simply for him.
This is definitely a novel that splits people’s opinions, and as you can tell it split mine several times!