Currently reading: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
A short, quick read, The Great Gatsby was unlike most books I usually read. A poignant reminder of the consequences of sin, it explores the life and fall of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy, “has-it-all” paragon, through the eyes of young Nick Carraway. Gatsby is everyone’s favorite person, but no one’s friend. He has everything and nothing, because of the one thing he can’t have: his love, Daisy Buchanan. Jay and Daisy were separated when they were young and are reunited many years later, after Daisy has married Tom Buchanan. Both believing themselves to be in love once again, Gatsby and Daisy renew their relationship and eventually confront Tom about it, resulting in a tragic end for all parties.
Being that it involves and mentions more than one adulterous affair, I was surprised to discover that The Great Gatsby did not encourage sin. In fact, it was quite the opposite. If I was a less moral person, it would have terrified me into running as far away from sin as I could go. After all, who would want to share the same fate as Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, George and Myrtle Wilson? The affairs in the novel are never glorified or encouraged. Tom is unfaithful to Daisy, Daisy is unfaithful to Tom, and Myrtle is unfaithful to George… and all of them are miserable, discontent, and unhappy.
But even though it doesn’t encourage adultery, by reading The Great Gatsby should I saturate myself in the sin just to understand its consequences? I don’t believe so. As a Christian, I fully understand the consequences of sin and a person’s need for redemption. I don’t require The Great Gatsby, with its focus on adultery, to teach me so.
One thing I did love about The Great Gatsby was the talent of the author. F. Scott Fitzgerald knows how to tell a story, and his writing style is so beautiful and seemingly effortless. I enjoyed The Great Gatsby the most for the skill behind each well-placed word. Mr. Fitzgerald taught me much about description, original ways to say things, and how to keep readers hooked. And I never expected how he would end this book. I was most surprised!
However, the negative elements to The Great Gatsby were just as numerous as the positive. Although it is never explicit or portrayed as a good thing, the storyline does focus on an affair between a man and a married woman. There is also a handful of instances of language and mature themes.
My rating: 6.0 out of 10
Would I read it again: Although The Great Gatsby does weave a a frightening warning into its tale, I don’t feel I need to wade through the muck and depression in order to know the consequences of sin. But purely for the gorgeous writing aspect of it, I might visit it again in the future, but I would buy my own copy so I can Sharpie out the cursing.