Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Inferior Book Group #7:

I feel like I shot myself in the foot when it came to The Great Gatsby.  I really should have read it a long time ago.  Despite plenty of recommendations, I put off picking up this book for so long that Baz Luhrmann got around to making a film adaptation before I had purchased a copy.  I saw it in the cinema and loved it.  Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant as Gatsby, and the film's cinematography was so beautiful that the images were burned into my mind.  As a result, I couldn't read the novel without thinking of Luhrmann's characters and sets.  This is why I normally prefer to read a book before I see the film version, but in this case the movie actually perfectly complemented F. Scott Fitzgerald's words.

Source: here

Although it was published in 1925, I found The Great Gatsby surprisingly easy to read (even compared to Scoop (1938).  Aside from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I hadn't read any of Fitzgerald's work before, and I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of style.  I was pleased to discover a mixture of colourful (but straightforward) description, quick dialogue and poetic afterthoughts.

As you might expect, there is a little more room for character development in Fitzgerald's novel than in Luhrmann's film.  The narrator, Nick Carraway, is much more fleshed out and, I think, much more likeable.  Sincerest apologies to Tobey Maguire, but his portrayal of Carraway came off as a bit wimpy on the big screen.

Source: here

Parts of the novel are desperately sad and hopeless, but my favourite part of The Great Gatsby had to be the descriptions of Gatsby's decadent parties.  While I understand that they are meant to highlight the exploitive and fickle nature of human beings, they really do sound like fun.  Who wouldn't want to go and poke around a young millionaire's huge, beautiful mansion and sip champagne in 1920s New York?

In April, it is the turn of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  This is another book with its own  famous film adaptation, and the lead role has been immortalised by Jack Nicholson.  Still, I've heard that the novel is very different to the movie, so I'll just have to wait and see what I think.


  1. Glad you got round to read it! I loved the book but I have to admit I was quite disappointed in the film in all honesty!
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!

    1. Maybe it's just because I saw the movie first, but I liked it! The book was such a good read, though :)