The Bookworm-The Not so Great Gatsby

This classic lacks key elements of a good story

Alexandra Dobesh, Staff Writer

“The Great Gatsby” is considered a classic, a masterpiece of literature and one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest works. After reading this book, I must say that it does not live up to its prestige.

The story is told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, an average man who moves to West Egg, New York, and in turn inserts himself into a summer of drama. His first encounter is a dinner with his cousin Daisy Buchanan, her husband, Tom and friend, Jordan Baker. At this dinner, he sees the strained relationship between Daisy and Tom and becomes aware of the fact that Tom is having an affair.

The next major scene involves Nick meeting Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Tom and Myrtle see each other right under the nose of her husband by Myrtle claiming she is going to visit her sister. Nick gets the pleasure of attending a small drunken get together with these scheming liars and other crass and immoral characters.

After these two odd events, the reader attends a party with Nick, thrown by none other than the rich and famous Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is known for his wealth, lavish parties and the fact that his house always seems occupied by a plethora of peculiar guests. Various rumors circulate about him- some say he killed a man, others that he was a German spy. Carraway and Gatsby are neighbors, and this party serves as their first face to face meeting. It is very brief, leaving the reader confused as to how Gatsby can be a central character who gets so little mention thus far.

Halfway through the book, the reader is finally informed of the main conflict. Gatsby drops by Carraway’s house and invites him to lunch. He cryptically tells Nick to have tea with Jordan so he can learn his secret. At his tea with Jordan, Nick learns that the infamous Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan used to be deeply in love. War took Gatsby away, and during his absence, Daisy married Tom. Gatsby is still madly in love with Daisy, and all he wants most in the world is to meet face to face with his old sweetheart.

This story could have been interesting if the reader would have learned of it before the book was halfway over. Even after the reader learns of the conflict, the events stay boring. There is minimal dialogue to convey the emotions of the characters, and the dialogue that is present is extremely dry.

Fitzgerald failed to create a tale that immerses the reader. There is minimal description of the setting making it difficult for the reader to imagine as if they are really there, something I would say is a key attribute of a good book. The descriptions that are included are wordy and confusing.

Confusing is the primary word I would use to describe “The Great Gatsby.” The first half of the book jumps around from scene to scene leaving its audience confused as to why the events being described to them are important. The events are also difficult to follow and visualize which make this book an unpleasant read for its audience.

Even once the main plot was revealed, I still felt as if this narrative was just down right boring. I felt as if the book was just a collection of small events that were sewn together in an illmade piece of clothing in the last 45 pages. The conclusion was too abrupt; everything was just spilled out at once. There was no suspense, nothing at the end to make the reader pause and reflect. It failed to peak my interest, causing me more than once to consider setting the book aside for good.

Fitzgerald failed to develop the characters in his story. No one changes. They are just a bunch of spoiled selfish brats whose only concerns are their own interests. They don’t learn from their mistakes or experiences. There is no diversity. I could not relate to the characters nor did I really like any of them. A story needs someone for its reader to root for, and this book didn’t have that.

“The Great Gatsby” is a dry, boring and puzzling book. The storyline doesn’t capture the audience’s interest, the characters are underdeveloped and there is minimal beneficial description. If you’re looking for a book that will dazzle you with a plot you can dive headfirst into, then this book is one to avoid.