I have an incredibly long list of what I would refer to as “classics” that I’ve been meaning to re-read since high school and college. I was a high performing student growing up, but I truly feel that I didn’t fully understand the majority of what I was reading. It’s like hearing a song on the radio from your childhood and upon fully hearing the risqué lyrics you say, “My parents let me listen to that?”
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has been on my list of re-reads and I spent my Friday night and breezy, beautiful Saturday morning checking this read off my list. It amazed me how quick of a read it was, as I remember spending at least a month reviewing the short pages of this novel (well, maybe it merely felt like a month). When I received my May ’13 issue of Vogue in the mail a couple of weeks ago, featuring gorgeous Carey Mulligan wearing beautiful jewels and a draped Oscar de la Renta, I quickly wiped the drool from my chin and committed to adding Gatsby as my next read. The connection? Mulligan plays the role of Daisy Buchanan in the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby directed by Australian-native, Baz Luhrmann, who also happened to direct Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet. Might I go ahead and mention that these two film in particular are on my list of fav watches? Yup.
Did I enjoy the read? I did. Is it in my list of top reads? Not so much. I enjoyed it for what it is: classic, short, wildly interesting, and predictable. I want to say there were moments that shocked me, and had I read this during its release year of 1925 it probably would have. In 2013, not so much. There have been many stories since that follow the same plot: poor boy falls for rich girl, rich girl marries rich man, poor boy builds empire to reel in rich girl, all ends tragically.
The character that the story is told from, Nick Carraway, reminds me of Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, awkward but observant. Carraway moves to Long Island living next door to wealthy Jay Gatsby who is known for his all-night, well-attended parties, but not known for how he achieved such great wealth. Caraway is also acquaintanced with the Buchanans, including Daisy who is Gatsby’s long-lost love. Daisy is immediately described as beautiful, light and wispy, but intelligent in her own right:
“I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,” I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'”
Knowing of Carraway’s connection to Daisy, Gatsby immediately enlists Carraway to help him arrange meetings between him and the Mrs. Buchanan. Upon Mr. Buchanan’s discovery of his wife’s activities the story quickly takes off and ends in tragedy. If the story were to be summed up into one theme it would be: the wealthy versus the not-so-wealthy, and how the grass isn’t always greener.
“… he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.”
I will definitely find the time this weekend to go see The Great Gatsby, as it was just released last night. A gentle reminder to our readers, don’t forget to call/talk to your mom’s tomorrow … it’s Mother’s Day! Also, if you are a husband and you have any children, please take care of your wife – do something nice for her! She deserves it!
What classic have you been inspired to read lately? xoxo ‘n lols, crystal