Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Great (?) Gatsby.

Standard

So I finished The Great Gatsby. Can we all agree to be upset with Tom and Daisy?

The first thing I wondered with Daisy is how would modern feminists view her? I mean, I don’t consider myself a feminist. I do, however, have feminist tendencies. I’m used to men, my brother and father ruined me to this, opening my door to a building and fixing the major things. But I can drive myself and sit down myself, check my oil, etc. So I googled it. That’s what my generation does right? I found this website that defends Daisy. It argues that Daisy is trapped and scared. She is young. The affair she has with Gatsby was the only thing she does by choice. She has no other opportunity to make more choices. This site talks about the movie and it isn’t all that feminist but I found it interesting. I know that this is a character that was a typical type of person during the time period but Daisy tended to annoy me. I tended to keep askng myself why she didn’t leave Tom or confront him about his affair. But time period. Women were finding their identity and rebelling during this time period but not women like Daisy. She is still a Southern female. I hesitate to call her a woman because se was so young when she married, her chance to ease into adulthood was take away. I do like that in the beginning, Daisy and Jordan were compared to balloons. Not, particularly Jordan, but Daisy. She seems flighty enough to be a balloon.

I did like Jordan. I wanted her and the narrator to be together forever. Obviously that couldn’t happen. That would be too amazing. And I liked that Jordan had a typically male name and that she was a professional athlete. It was lovely. I totally appreciated her character and think that the book needed her. To me it felt better that there was a more stable woman in the book.

Tom, from the get go, is a guy you know is a bully. They describe him and I wrote ‘should have a moustache with that stance’ and the ‘description sets him to be a villain immediately’, which is something you need to do when you have a short book. I didn’t like him almost immediately. I do have written that it would be interesting to listen to Tom and modern politicians about foreign superpowers. I hate that Tom sent the husband over to Gatsby when it was his wife at fault. I understand why though. It was to get rid of his wife’s lover. Which is so hypocritical and ironic. He had a lover that was killed and the lover’s husband went to kill the lover. I did wonder at one point I did write down how I wondered why no one told Daisy and why she was clueless. I mean Nick met the woman and never told Daisy. (he was protecting her) This frustrated me because no one told her. But this was also the Twenties. You wouldn’t be able to freely talk about affairs. Tom is also abusive. I do not have time for that. No one should have time for that.

Both Tom and Daisy were described as careless people. And it’s really true. That’s what happens when you don’t care about people that aren’t yourself. Both of them are kind of narcissistic.

Gatsby wasn’t bad. He was just obsessively in love with the wrong woman. He makes Daisy more of an angel than she deserves. He does have an aloofness. I also feel like it’s interesting that people assume he’s killed a man. Gatsby does use ‘old man’ like it’s going out of style. It probably out of style because of him. I also like that his past was used to explain the present. It made for a good love triangle when he hates Tom. But everyone should hate Tom. I felt bad for him through most of the book. Especially when he died. Pretty much no one wanted to go to his funeral. So is Gatsby really great? I think that Nick thinks he is. And that might be the opinion that counts. It’s the narrator’s p.o.v. that counts. It would be interesting to see the same story from a different character.

Now we got the characters out of the way, let’s talk about the American Dream. this book is about the American Dream because who in this book doesn’t want to succeed. I feel like this was a big deal in the 20’s and prior. I mean after you had the Great Depression. I think it came back after though. Everyone wants to make their own fortune. My kids in Hungary wanted that. They feel like they don’t have a future in Hungary. So they want to go anywhere where they do have a future. A lot of them want to go to America and there is a decent amount of illegal Hungarians in the States but you didn’t hear that from me. They just want better. So the American Dream isn’t necessarily just American. The need to better yourself and to have opportunities are things everyone wants.

I think that this is a book about relationships. Obviously. Live triangle, friendship, loyalties. How do you stand up for yourself and how do you right wrongs. It’s big issues.  I don’t think that relationships are the first thing that I thought about. But they were there. I was just frustrated on what was going on. They’re all stupid. Mainly just Tom and Daisy. But everyone has their dumb moments in this book. After sitting and thinking on this book for a few days, I have time to think about these relationships. I don’t want to be a Daisy. I want some sense when it comes to relationship.

Overall, I did like this book. It’s a good book to get a taste of a culture and an era. Because there is a lot to learn about both. I obviously could go on for a long time about issues addressed in this book. But I won’t. There’s actually a lot that I skipped in this review to keep it at a decent length. Since I’ve finished Gatsby, I’ve read Paper Towns by John Green and right now I’m reading Full of Grace by Dorthea Benton Frank. I may or may not do reviews on them. If there’s any questions about this review, please ask. Or if there’s any recommendations, please give them. I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll take them, but I’ll consider them.

Advertisements

Great and American and Novel. All together.

Standard

I just recently finished reading James Rollins’ book The Blood Gospel. I love James Rollins. My problem with James Rollins is that I read one book and I crave more James Rollins. That’s how I love him. I can’t get enough of him. But I’m out of him right now. And since I’m avoiding work and I’m not near a really good library…not going to happen for a while. Ugh, there’s a void in my life now. (Yes, I’m being dramatic.) Yes, there are religious things in this book but if you read it, which I recommend everyone does because it’s James freaking Rollins, take some of the religious things with a grain of salt. But it didn’t disappoint. I want to read the rest in the series. I know I read over 600 closer to 700 pages of this series with just this one book but I want more.

Right now, I am about to start reading The Great Gatsby. It’s my first Fitzgerald. I know it might be a little bit generic for my first Fitzgerald. I probably should be reading The Beautiful and the Damned, which I have on my Nook but haven’t gotten to. (And FYI I’d rather have a real copy of it. Anyone wanting to donate any books. I’m down.) And people have told me to start with The Beautiful and the Damned. I’m just being a rebel. Historically, I have had people upset with me because I haven’t read Fitzgerald. Not in high school lit or college lit classes. No Fitzgerald. Yay North Dakota education system. So because I am fascinated by authors and where books came from and why, I did my research.

Things that I did know: he was in deep love with his wife. (The Great Gatsby is dedicated ‘Once Again To Zelda’. I mean this was his third novel.) From what my friends have said, I want to be Zelda Fitzgerald. Like he was romantic and she has books where she’s the basis of a character. I want to positively immortalized in a book. He did something to do with the first world war.

Things that I found out with reading: He was born in Minnesota, though did not stay there. I like Mid-western authors. Leif Enger being one of them. If you haven’t read him, try him. Not everyone’s cup of tea but interesting. He was seen as handsome, thought definitely not my type. He went to Princeton. Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The war ended before Fitzgerald was deployed. The Beautiful and the Damned was his second novel, I thought it was his first but lie.

After Gatsby, Fitzgerald became more of an alcoholic and his wife Zelda had some issues with mental breakdowns. And she was admitted to a mental health clinic in Switzerland for a while. Fitzgerald died at the age of 44, believing he was a failure. On a personal level, get that. There’s a lot more of Fitzgerald. Click to find out more and to find where I got a lot of my information.

I went on GoodReads today to mark that I was reading Gatsby. I scrolled down to see who’s read it and what they thought of it. I’m a failure. Most everyone I know has read this. There are 24 reviews. Out of 60 people I’m friends with on GoodReads, maybe not so bad but still. I’m kind of a failure. With a degree in English Lit, I should have read this book before. Or at least Fitzgerald. They’re mostly good reviews and there are some of my friends that have marked it to read so I’m not completely alone. And I do think I have to put in a disclaimer that I have seen the DiCaprio version of the book. (DAMN DiCaprio hasn’t gotten the recognition anywhere. My kids in Hungary even know it. When I asked what you associate with the Emmys they say, “Not Leonardo DiCaprio”.) So it’s not like I don’t know the general story. (And if we’re using movies as the pure basis for judgment of the novel version, we’re in trouble.) I was going to start reading this last night but I was really tired after running after my brother’s kids for a while. (“It’s not kicking, it’s hitting with feet.” Where do they come up with that?) So I got like a page in and was like, yeah…no. I’m sleeping. From what I can see, Fitzgerald isn’t mindless. I have to put more thought into it than a modern novel. It was also written in another era so I can’t go into it thinking that the vernacular is going to be natural to me. I could, and have, go off about vernacular and how language has seem to go down hill in recent times but I won’t now. It’s refreshing though to read a book where it makes me concentrate, which Gatsby will do. This isn’t a long book. My copy, published by Scribner Paperback Fiction and was bought for $3.80 at a used book store last year, has 222 pages starts on page 5 and ends on page 189. So that’s 184 pages of story.

There is a great emphasis in this book about the American Dream. Which, for me, is different for me now after being overseas for a year. But I’ll talk about that in the review.

After reading a few reviews on GoodReads, which we all know is the literary Bible, (sarcasm. I point that out because not many people get my sarcasm.) people say that this is the best American novel ever. I’m skeptical. Anyone that says that anything is the best ever, I’m not sure I believe it. But at the same time, my expectations are high. Expectations are high because the people that have told me good things about Fitzgerald are people I respect deeply. If this book disappoints, it’s going to be an epic disappointal. And people will hear about it. This isn’t a long book so the review shouldn’t be to far away.

Reconstructing Amelia.

Standard

The last post was obviously emotion based. I’m not going to apologize for it. I know some of you are confused by that like why would I apologize. I’ve had several people say things to me that insinuates that I’m being dramatic. I am being dramatic but I’ve watered down what’s going in me quite a bit. And some of the dramatics need to happen. Not all of it, but some of it. So no apologies. I’m sure I’ll rant and rave about something that dramatically again. But I will try to water those down with posts that are not dramatic. So today, we’re going old school post. Book Review. It won’t be a long one but it’s a review.

Reconstructing Amelia is by Kimberly McCreight. Now, I’m moving to our other farm and my copy is over there so if I mess something up, it’s because of that. It’s about a (lawyer) woman who’s teenage daughter, who’s painted as perfect at the beginning, seems to have committed suicide because she got caught cheating. The book goes between the mother dealing with Amelia’s death and Amelia the months prior to dying. Then there’s blog posts and Facebook posts. All of it’s tied together. One thing that I noticed about half way through reading is that it’s compared to Gone Girl. I should have noticed that before because it’s on the front cover and the back cover and it’s notable. I didn’t notice it because I was more interested in what the book was about. At first, the comparison kind of bothered me. Any comparison between kind of bothers me. A book shouldn’t be compared to another book. I’ve done it before but when it gets to a level of ridiculousness, it bothers me. And this is on both covers. Think the publishers want to sell their book by jumping on the success of another book? But I kept reading. I see the comparison. There’s a lot of stuff that comes out throughout the book. Amelia’s involvement with a secret club, things she did with and for the club, Ben’s identity, Amelia’s father, what happened on the roof when Amelia jumped, Amelia’s relationship. There’s lots twists and turns like Gone Girl. But it’s different. It’s watered down.

I generally liked it. I’m not always a fan of the flip flopped views, it’s hit or miss, but I like this for the most part. It was almost, ALMOST, cinematic. But it was why it had a flip flop view system. I think that the author wanted to move things along and keep the intrigue going and it was done relatively well. Could it have been done better? Probably. But done pretty well.

In this book, there’s a lot about high school culture. Mean kids/girls, social media, school activities, pier pressure. I wondered how I would have reacted in that situation at 15. (which is how old Amelia was) First of all, I don’t think I would have done some of the things Amelia did for this secret club. I was a little bit of a loner thought and no one really cared. And I went to a very small school so if there were a secret club, everyone would know about it (which they did in the book) and everyone would know about the things you had to do to get in. I think, that part, I would have laughed at the club and wouldn’t have done it. Amelia did it because, I think, she wanted to be accepted by some of the club members and if you read the book you know which member I’m talking about. I would have had a hard time with the mean girls though. I never felt bullied in high school and I was always somewhat accepted but I was also involved in enough, not much but enough, and I was also a little protected by my class. So I never had to deal with bullies like this. So I was lucky. Not everyone is that lucky.

I like the emotion in this book and thought all emotions were appropriate. There’s a lot of emotion that the book has to deal with because of the subject matter. But it was good. Do I recommend it. Yes.