A Wife Loved Like The Church

Why The Great Gatsby isn’t Great

Posted on: April 10, 2013

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting anxiously to hear about our weekend in New York. I will write a post soon. For now, I’m still in recovery mode – which should tell you just how awesome the trip was.

I’ve always wanted to read The Great Gatsby, it’s even on my 30 before 30 list. But for one reason or another, it never made it to my “reading now” list. Until about two weeks ago. I was at the library and noted that had a copy on their “for sale” rack, so I bought it {side note – library “sales” are awesome and cheap}. I set it aside with the hopes of reading it in New York.


{photo credit}

Fast forward to the morning we fly to New York. I opened the Great Gatsby, read about 8 pages, and stop.

Clearly, not a stellar beginning.

On the flight home, we had time to pass at the airport, so while Jonathan finished up some work, I started reading. And reading. And reading. I read 100 pages in one sitting. I finished the book after two more sittings.

For those of you who have never read the book {or are hoping to see the movie this summer}, I won’t ruin anything. Promise. But, I was struck with this thought –

I didn’t like The Great Gatsby.

The story seemed like a dream that weaved in and out of consciousness, making it hard for me to separate reality from fiction. Based on the plot, I suppose that is exactly what Fitzgerald was going for. A surreal feeling stood with me from start to finish.

I had to mull over in my head if I was actually disappointed by The Great Gatsby. I had expectations of a great book, one that would become part of my annual reads. Instead, it will become a book “I read that one time”. But, the beauty of it is this – Even though I didn’t think The Great Gatsby was all that great, it’s still a wonderful read.

When an author can make you feel exactly how he is writing, that is something amazing. When you read a daydreamy, fuzzy-around-the-edges book and you feel grounded the whole time, the author has missed his mark. But, even 70 years after his death, Fitzgerald has my head twirling around, slightly dazed and confused. Just like his characters.

Fitzgerald taught me something, something beyond his written word. He taught me that whether someone likes your story or not, you need to make them feel your writing. Make them hate you or love you, so long as they feel you.

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