The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What. A. Book.

I am legitimately impressed, and I do not say this lightly. The Great Gatsby is the type of book that makes me want to tackle everyone I meet to ensure they have read it, and if not, acquire a copy to shove into their hands. It really is that good.

The strange thing is, I’m not even sure what it is about the story that draws me to it so much. Symbolism and meaningful prose typically have little to no effect on me. I prefer a straightforward story with little to no extra fluff. But this book. Dang.

While I was in high school, and now in college, I have never been assigned The Great Gatsby, which I think takes most everyone I meet by surprise, especially considering I am such a big reader. To be truthful, when I began reading the book myself the other week, I was a bit disappointed that I had never gotten to it before I reached 22 years old. However, now that I’ve finished it and gotten a chance to truly appreciate the writing, the story, the meaning behind it all, I think I’m grateful to have only just now read it by choice.

There is something about deciding to read a classic on your own that makes it exponentially more special than being forced to rush through it for a class. It’s a more meaningful, enriching experience, if only for the fact that I didn’t have to complete some Godforsaken busy work alongside it.

I got to read The Great Gatsby as it should be read. Or perhaps a better word for it: experienced.

My very first reaction to the book? I love Daisy. Did anybody else just fall in love with her instantly? She’s so strange and oddly alluring.

Something I found really interesting about The Great Gatsby was the connection I felt with the characters. With many books, particularly more dated ones and those considered “classics,” I truly couldn’t care about the individual stories of each character within the book. But I had a really different feeling here.

There was so much more to this book than just a story with bland, one-dimensional characters. I found myself instantly caring about the well being of Nick, Gatsby, and Daisy, and as I learned more about each of them throughout the book, I only found myself more and more connected to them.

This is especially surprising to me, since The Great Gatsby is a relatively short book. (I was able to finish it in just a couple nights. Crazy, right? For as much of a reader as I am, I never do that!) But the bottom line being, F. Scott Fitzgerald knew what he was doing, and was far ahead of his time even, when it came to character writing and development.

In short:

So, is this review essentially just me pushing a book on you that you’ve probably already read? Absolutely.

And if you have read it, I encourage you to revisit it, perhaps look at it in a new light now that you’re older and you don’t have to read it for school (since that seems to be when most people I know read it). Who knows? You might find something you didn’t think of before. You might see it in a new light.

Or maybe it’ll just remind you how incredible a writer Fitzgerald was. Either way, that’s a win in my book.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving my review a read! Have a fantastic rest of your week (for real, please do so).

1984 by George Orwell

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I am utterly horrified and in love with this book. What an incredibly creative and unique work of fiction with some crazy parallels to modern life. Let me begin by saying I’m not the biggest George Orwell fan in the world. One of my high school literature classes assigned Animal Farm, and it was, admittedly, not an experience I look back on with fondness. I quite literally hated that story. I still get chills in my very core thinking about it. (Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, bit I didn’t like it, okay?) Perhaps one day I’ll grow out of my Orwell-induced fear of pigs and communism, but that day is not today.

That being said, I have to say that 1984 surpassed all of my expectations by being enjoyable at all, and went beyond that by actually making fall in love with some of the characters and have some really in-depth thoughts on the world—both the fictional world in the story, and the real world in which I live.

I love a lot of books, but very few make me think about the world around me in such a profoundly new way. That is probably the main reason this book hit four-and-a-half stars for me. One element I found particularly disturbing was the way everyone was recorded, watched, and analyzed at any and every moment. For this reason, the main character, Winston, spends quite a bit of time doing his best to hide from cameras. When he is around them, he spends his time perfecting his expressions as to reveal nothing the government might find suspicious. Beyond the fact that it sounds like a generally horrifying situation, I realized that I would be completely doomed if someone were looking at my face 24/7, waiting for me to do something out of the ordinary.

I make strange faces all the time. I would be as good as dead in that world. In that respect, Winston is an incredibly impressive fellow, for sure.

As for the parallels I notice within modern society, the main one I pull from the story is the idea that society tells us certain thoughts are right and certain thoughts are wrong. Whether your ideas concern something serious or the fact that you do or don’t like a fictional relationship, people seem to find joy in collectivizing themselves against a common “enemy” that they deem as incorrect and, therefore, harmful—even if all that person did was, for example, say they like something that isn’t generally deemed popular. That was a mouthful, but hopefully you get my drift. I’m basically just saying that mob thought is definitely a thing in almost every facet of life, and that people love to hate others for the things they think.

Which is a super weird thought considering all of us have an unpopular opinion or two.

I digress.

Another part of the story I loved was the fact that I truly cared for the characters, even the main female character, who I was at first sure I would hate, and whose role won’t spoil for those of you who haven’t read 1984 yet. But you know when you read a book, and you can just feel that the author put no thought into a certain character and added them as an afterthought? Or when all the characters feel like they are there only to advance the plot, not to play their own unique role? I never felt that with these main characters. I can tell a lot of thought was put into them, shaping them into unique individuals I haven’t seem the likes of in anything else.

The reason I was so surprised with this was that I merely didn’t expect it, considering the publishing year. I often find that older books do use characters only to advance the plot, because that’s just how a lot of stories were written (and there’s nothing wrong with that, in the right story). That being said, 1984 was only stronger for it’s use of characters that matter to the reader, as well as its compelling plot.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a thought-provoking piece of fiction, or anyone looking for a change of pace from literally any modern books they’ve been reading. I cannot stress how incredible this story is.