2009: 62. The Great Gatsby

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning around in my mind ever since.”

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

As part of my dual goals of 1) blogging about all the modern library top 100, and 2) rereading more books I’ve read before, I decided to re-read The Great Gatsby, a book I love, and I hadn’t re-read in ages.  I said before that I think that this, not Ulysses, should be the top pick for the top 100 (although number 2 is far from shabby).  It’s just that while I appreciate Joyce’s accomplishment, I love this book, and every time I re-read it I get something new from Gatsby’s sad story.  

This is, of course, the story of the American dream - the story of Gatsby standing on the pier staring at the green light across the bay, and constructing  his dreams of Daisy.  Things that struck me on this read were what a false dream Gatsby’s dream of life with Daisy is - how worthless she is of Gatsby’s dreams, but also how unrelated, really, his dreams are from her actuality - how little, really she had to do with what he think he’s always wanted, even as he constructed his whole life on capturing her.  It is an indictment of dreamers, and not living your life in a cloud - but it’s also a real character trait of real human beings.  So many people fall in love with the person they think they know, or the person they’ve constructed in their head, and while they don’t pay quite as Jay Gatz does, they still pay.  

And I also paid more attention to Nick Carroway than I usually do.  The first time I read Gatsby I was in high school, and my somewhat Svengali like English teacher told us, categorically, to ignore Nick, and to focus on Gatsby - that Nick was merely a narrator.  And while I think criticism could get lost in the weeds of what Nick “means,” re-reading the book reminded me how interesting the narration is, and how I totally have a crush on sweet midwestern Nick.  Call me, Nick!

Date/Place Completed: April 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Modern Library Top 100, Book Resolutions, Commuting Book, Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017