The Great Gatsby has always been in the background for me. Fitzgerald was Elizabeth Wakefield’s favourite author in Sweet Valley High and the novel was used as a ADHD test for the boys in South Park (read The Great Gatsby in one sitting and then ask ‘what was the colour of the car in Chapter X?’ If you don’t know the answer, you have ADHD).
Well, I don’t because I know the colour of the car.
While I didn’t quite read The Great Gatsby in one sitting, it was a very fast read for me (three days). I picked this up as one of the Popular Penguin series (a series that hasn’t let me down so far, some great books). It took some time for me to read it though, some terribly dry classics in high school have made me weary- will I like it? Understand it?
No problem- I quickly got into the flow of Fitzgerald’s writing and the story of Nick, Tom, Daisy and Gatsby. Set in 1920′s Long Island and New York, it reveals the excesses of the time (lavish parties, underground booze- it was Prohibition) and that some things never change- love and adultery. It was fast and dramatic, yet Fitzgerald captured the long, hot, lazy days so well I actually felt displaced from my chair by the fire.
My copy came with both an introduction and an appendix. I found the introduction long-winded (and without an actual introduction) so I skimmed it. Not all of the footnotes in the appendix were necessary for me, but they were nice to know.
8 of 10, I’d recommend it to those wanting to capture the essence of the 1920s.