The Great Gatsby

This is one of my favorite 20th century novels, I read The Great Gatsby when I was thirteen years old. I loved it back then, and I’ve recently saw the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which I liked much better than the one starring Robert Redford.

I recently bought the book on Amazon.com, and I read it in one day. It’s a very short novel. Funny, I seem to have remembered the book as being so much thicker for some reason, but I guess to my 13 year old mind the whole world was a lot bigger than it is now.

I fell in love with this book all over again. It’s so much better reading it as an adult, I felt there were things that I’ve missed before — like Nick’s witty dialogues and narratives, the tragic love of Gatsby and Daisy, the selfish and shallowness of Daisy, etc. The disdain from those whose old-world wealth was being mixed with those whose new-gain riches in society, was met with haughtiness. The American mainstream era during the roaring twenties was that anyone could be rich from any background, you no longer had to depend on aristocratic names or pedigrees… this of course was scorned by those established families who felt that the “new money” didn’t hold the same prestige as the “old money” did.

What I found very “renewing” was my compassion for these star-crossed lovers; especially since Gatsby went overseas during WWI and was a lieutenant in the Army, and I think Daisy never really loved Tom at all… I thought it amusing that Daisy’s character never drinks. This is definitely more tragic and romantic than any corny Nicholas Sparks novel!

Plus, I just love any book about NYC. I love when I read about areas I know, places I’ve been to… even when they talk about the two “eggs” and the “valley of the ashes”, all pseudonyms for locations in the metro-NY area that I’m well acquainted with.

The 2013 movie was excellent, in my opinion. I know that there were mixed reviews with critics, and a lot of people felt that it fell short of its bar… but, this is also an adaptation of possibly the best novel of the 20th century, so the expectation was impossibly high. I also think that the characters were very difficult to play, but that this cast was the best adaptations of the characters so far. I think this version was also the most faithful to the book, including the dialogues. A little bit was changed, but not significantly like other movie versions previously were. The soundtrack was also really good; but the costumes, the production design, and visual effects were spectacular. The whole movie was so vibrant with colors… and of course, I think DiCaprio was the best man to play Jay Gatsby.

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