A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds, and by more echeerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic eyes and short upper lips of southeastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby's splendid car was included in their somber holiday.
- pages 68-69
I'm not going to write an actual review
of The Great Gatsby
, because what's the point? There are
acknowledged all-time classics that can be still be given a real review because, classic as they are, we may not know whether they would actually be worth our time. But, for Americans at least, we've pretty much all already read Gatsby
, or avoided reading it but heard all about it. All the fuck about it. About every piece of SYMBOLISM
and every representation of the American this or that and every everything that lazy high school teachers have been saying about it for decades.
I didn't read Gatsby
in high school. We had a Gatsby
section, with all the normal touchstones involved (Modernism, Roaring 20s, American Dream, fucking giant God glasses or whatever) and I think I wrote a paper about Gatsby
, but I didn't actually read the thing. A page here, a page there, a lot of grabbing random passages -- I had getting decent grades while not reading the books down to a science.
My own laziness aside, I think the way this book is always foisted upon high schoolers, with the same basic approach every time, really does a disservice to them and the book itself. After all, it was only now, a decade after I graduated from high school, that I was even tempted to give the damn thing a read. Then someone randomly gave me a copy and I did. Naturally, it is great.
So what can I say that isn't always said about the book? Hmm.[The rest is on my blog. And somehow The Count of Monte Cristo still gets mentioned.]