Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

I Finally Did It

Well, I finally read The Great Gatsby. Yes, I was one of those who somehow made it out of high school and undergrad without having to read it for an English class. And, though I consider myself an avid reader, this one never came across my path - especially weird when you consider that it's one of my dad's favorite novels and he reads it every year. I never even read it amidst all the hype of the recent Leo movie. Not only did I make it 33 years without reading The Great Gatsby, I also made it this long without really knowing anything about the book, other than it was set in the 1920s, had something to do with the excesses of that time period, and that there was a green light.

But, I finally did it. And I enjoyed it!

Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.

Some people say that it's an overrated book; some people say that it's one of the best books of the 20th century. I think I'm somewhere in-between, but I do think it's a very superb book. I'm looking forward to reading Maureen Corrigan's book in the near future.

Sometimes I really mark up a book when I read it; with nonfiction, it's typically because there's something important to note, or I have a note to write in the margins. With nonfiction, it's because there's a good quote or, as was frequently the case with The Great Gatsby, it was because I loved the sound of the writing so much.

It baffles me that this book was not popular when it was first published; that Fitzgerald died thinking it was a flop, a failure. This isn't because the book is so widely read today, but because it was such a good book. Did people in the 1920s not want to read a critique of high society? Did the people in the 1930s not want to read about the excesses that helped lead to the Great Depression? I'm not sure; but if I could go back in time, I would want to make sure that Fitzgerald knew he wrote a superb novel, and one that seems to be standing the test of time very well.

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.

I'm not sure what else I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. It was a great tragic novel. How the movies and opera work, I'm not sure (but I am more curious now to check them out). I'm sure that my dad is happy with me, and that somewhere my mom's dad - who was an English professor - is also smiling because I finally read one of the Great American Novels.

‘Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.’

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