I know I said I would only write about books I've never read before, but it's as though I'm reading this book for the first time. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is one of those books you can read again and again and always read something new.The first several times I read this book, usually under duress, I hated the book. Hated. The Book. Hated. The. Characters. Hated. It.
But I'm the lucky one because my sister Linda is a tremendous lover of literature and she is my own personal literature advocate. She and I were talking about Gatsby the other day. I was saying how awful I thought it was and how I was surprised she was making her kids read it. (She teaches high school English and Literature). She told me her kids LOVE it; I was doubtful.
Linda started her magic with me.
She told me that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a poet, that his writing is beautiful and lyrical and poetic and, if I would pay attention to the writing, that I would love it. Furthermore she told me that she often encourages her students to skip the first chapter of the book ("Nick can be long winded") and skip to the second chapter, right into the fun part of the book.
I have been a heavy reader for my entire life, but recently I've realized I have been reading wrong. As a young girl I was the fastest reader in my class, as per the speed reading machine, and I was proud of that. I have continued to read very fast, often reading for story rather than for language, skimming, zipping through long books, missing lots of detail and depth. This past month has been a huge epiphany for me; I've decided to sloooow it down and enjoy the read, rather than get through it quickly.
Maybe that is why I am appreciating Gatsby so much this time.
I'll be back in a few days (or more!) with my post on The Great Gatsby.
Don Birnam, the protagonist of Charles Jackson's
referring to The Great Gatsby,
"There's no such thing ... as a flawless novel.
But if there is, this is it."