Myself and the rest of the literary universe are happily celebrating the 90th birthday ‘party’ of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby!’ It was on April 10th 1925 that the novel was first published. It blows my mind that the initial release of this novel was not very successful and Scott himself never knew the extent of how famous his story became!Mr Fitzgerald himself would also be fist pumping in his grave right about now and sipping on a few reds with his queen Zelda. As well as my unhealthy obsession with the love story of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, ‘The Great Gatsby’ happens to be my favourite literature classic of all time. I own three copies of the book which featured in my latest blog post. When you find a book as beautiful as this one, you can never have enough of it. To celebrate this literary birthday, I was really inspired to write about my connection with this book and why everybody out there should read this literary party minx for themselves.
I first read the story in 2013 as preparation for a study tour on the American Dream. I typed into google ‘best American Dream novels’ and Gatsby kept popping up the most. I, like Fitzgerald’s carefully crafted narrator Nick Carraway became extremely interested in this story. It was soon added to my basket from the book depository. As much as I love classic literature, I confess dear reader that I can never read it when I am busy with work or study commitments #literaryconfessions I spend a lot of my energy deconstructing the language and trying to make sense of context, jargon and sometimes who the characters are. An example of this is Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte has literary style I’ll give her that, but give a 21st century girl a break woman. ‘The Great Gatsby’ however was a smooth and connected story with every page an enjoyable read. Even from the very first sentence: ‘In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.’ Scott, couldn’t love your ‘get to the point of the story’ skills any more if I tried. But dear reader don’t be put off by how ancient this story is, it is written so beautifully that any generation of readers can appreciate it’s beauty. For my study tour, the concept was to develop a personal sense of what the American Dream meant. After visiting all the historical sites throughout Boston, Washington and New York, the best way for me to understand what the American Dream is in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. America was the land of opportunity, where people of all age, race and ability had the potential to construct the perfect life for themselves. Through hard and honest work, America would reward their citizens with the house, car and nuclear family. For Gatsby, his love for Daisy Buchanan drove him to build the American Dream for himself. The story is remarkable how it captures the essence of the Great Depression of the 1920’s and the clashing characters ideals of their own American Dream. However, the most prominent theme of this story that I always hold onto is hope. The sheer hope that Fitzgerald writes with is just incredible.
Scott is able to write so well because a lot of his ideas were channelled from his wife and muse, Zelda Fitzgerald. The love these two shared was both toxic and pure, the contrasting personalities being at times dangerous for one another. If I ever had the chance to have a dinner party with any one of my choosing, these two would definitely make the table. I find them fascinating. I do own a copy o the Love letters the two wrote each other with some of them putting Nicholas Sparks’ novels to shame. Seriously dear reader, you should just google ‘Scott and Zelda love letters’ for yourself and see how much they were in love with each other. Daisy Buchanan, the leading lady of ‘The Great Gatsby’ was inspired from Scott’s wife Zelda Fitzgerald. Scott allegedly stole excerpt chunks of her personal diary being and used them as conversations between Gatsby and Daisy. So subtle Scott. Even in some of his other stories such as ‘Tender is the Night,’ the influence of Zelda in the character development is still there. I think it’s sweet that the beautifully twisted love he had for his beautiful little fool helped to direct his literary creations.
The Great Gatsby’s recent revival through the 2013 film directed by Baz Lurhmann was a great reminder for audiences around the world how awesome this story is. I had a Great Gatsby themed 21st birthday party and the way all my guests were able to rock the 20’s look was amazing. But 20’s themed clothing, jewellery, shoes and even home décor was everywhere to be seen! It would have been even cooler if Baz had held out until 2015 and released the film as a birthday party for the book and movie! Regardless, I am sure there are lots of you out there who haven’t read the books for yourself but have indeed watched the movie. The movie is aesthetically mind blowing, with perfect casting and exceptional costume design. But the vision Scott had for this story can never be portrayed on screen, no matter how good the movie is.
I could took about this story for days, read it again and continue talking about it some more. I am still in shock that the story is 90 years old and continues to inspire people from all around the world. My absolute favourite quote in the entire story after reading it numerous times is: ‘The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wanted to be looked at sometime, and because it seemed so romantic to me I have remembered the incident ever since-‘ Jordan Baker. For a man that needed some serious work on marriage and parenthood, the man knows women. Such a literary boss. I recommend everybody ready this story, as you will not be disappointed. Since the story itself is not too long, it would be great to read over a relaxing weekend. 🙂 F. Scott Fitzgerald just has a way with words that cannot be beaten against any current.
Miss Book Dependent xo