As I remember fondly from working at a bookstore, every time a movie adaptation of a book comes out (especially one starring a quote – heartthrob – endquote) it creates a certain rush of readers: people who only pick up books with movie posters for a cover.
No judgment. Really. Whatever gets you reading. I guess. Sure. Whatevs. Anyway.
It bothers me, however, when people miss the point. If the best you get from The Great Gatsby is “Daisy was such a bitch to him, ohmygod. But those parties! Squee!” then you better be a teenage girl because otherwise you are a giant waste of literacy.
The vitriol is thick with me this morning because I am tired and stressed and as I tried to distract myself with some light internet browsing, I wandered into critiques of $25,000 Gatsby-themed parties, comparisons of The Great Gatsby and Fight Club, and parallels drawn between Don Draper and Jay Gatsby and on and on.
Facebook venting to Husband over a lunchbreak has its limits, thus I have taken to the blogs.
I don’t disagree that Fight Club is a 1990s version of Gatsby, per se, but there’s an argument you can make for every work of American Literature since 1924 being an updated version of Gatsby somehow. It’s just so AMERICA in all the classic ways America is critiqued. Its themes are perennial; they are the problem with the American Dream at its very core.
Fitzgerald nailed it. It truly is a “perfect novel.”
Perhaps I just love Fitzgerald too much. He is one of those artists to whom I feel connected. Do you know the feeling? When first reading his work, I just got it. I felt the same with Joe Strummer and Laura Jane Grace and Joan Didion and Upton Sinclair and Edgar Wright and Steve McQueen (the artist/filmmaker, not Bullit, damn you). You feel like only you truly understand their work and no one else can possibly appreciate it like you can. Thus, you feel a sense of ownership and need to defend it from the unworthy.
It’s like watching someone drive an expensive car very badly. You can’t help but cringe and weep for humanity.