Gatsby is about sex, drugs, crime, cheating, death, lies, and every bad boy your mother ever warned you about all wrapped up into a one short book. It’s like New Year’s Eve that lasts for weeks over a hot, humid summer in New York. It’s exciting, it’s tragic, and it’s totally worth the few hours you’ll spend reading it.
If I’m gonna give the world a book, I think it needs to be one most people can relate to, so I picked The Great Gatsby. And probably most of the world cannot relate to this book either, it’s a very American look at the Roaring Twenties, but it contains truths about humanity that I think are universal. One such truth is that people are basically lying, cheating pieces of shit. (Wait, WF is pretty much all about this too…maybe it is a book worth gifting the world?)
Anyway, I love TGG. I read this book in a college literature class that I took right out of high school and I knew immediately that I liked the book. It was short, quick, and easy to read. But I didn’t understand the book until I re-read it about ten years later, because really, I had nothing to relate back to these characters. The world needed to have its way with me a little more before I could understand that most people in the world are not honest and do not do the right thing. I was, in fact, pretty much as naive as Nick Carraway when he descends on Long Island for what he thinks is going to be a summer of parties and opulent fun, courtesy of the Great Jay Gatsby.
It all starts out OK. As they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets run over by a car. And then another someone thinks he’s too important to have to pay the consequences. This is a story about privilege and how the rules really don’t apply to you if you live inside this circle. I’m not rich, I grew up average middle class myself. So I can’t relate, nor do I know for certain that that’s true. But in this book, you see it firsthand.
Until of course you read the end, and then you realize, life sucks all the way around, even if you’re rich. Bad things still happen.
The book is a cautionary tale on taking the boy out of the Midwest (where both Nick and Gatsby grew up) and throwing them to the wolves in that stalk the East Coast.
I’m not sure I believe the premise – there are wolves all over these days. But I’m sure at the time it was probably pretty close to true. It’s still a quieter life in the Midwest, and the East Coast in the 20’s was rife with bootlegging, organized crime, and corruption.
So why choose The Great Gatsby for New Adult Addiction? Well, all the major players, with the exception of Gatsby himself, are out of college, but not much beyond that. They are in fact, new adults. I was quite pleased when I realized that during F&F.
I submit The Great Gatsby is one of the very few Great American Novels. It’s a lesson in life, that for sure. And definitely a lesson in the culture of America in the 1920’s. If you’ve never read it, it’s a short read and it really is a brilliant piece of literature.
Plus, Leonardo Dicaprio is going to play Gatsby in the upcoming 2013 film version of the book, so really – you need to read it before you see the movie. Appreciate the words before the imagery of film steals them away from you.
Here’s what happened at New Adult Addiction last week:
- Feature and Follow #13
- COVER REVEAL: The Camp by Karice Bolton
- BOOK TRAILER REVEAL: Eternal Hope by Frankie Rose…
- Featured Indie Book: CLUTCH – I Am Just Junco #1
Here’s what’s coming up at New Adult Addiction this week:
- Cover Reveal: Raksha by Frankie Rose
- Cover Reveal: Disconnect by Imran Siddiq
Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings
I’ll admit that I read Gatsby in high school and really didn’t connect with it at all I’m not ready to try it again, but I’m hoping that maybe the movie will make me understand the themes that I missed in high school?
J. Anne Huss
I agree – I didn’t get it even in college, it took a while, because it’s got a very ugly theme to it that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.