I don’t think that there is a single take on The Great Gatsby that hasn’t been done, overdone, flipped and reversed. But there’s a reason that so many people have written about this damn book – it’s a marvel of precision. There are no words wasted. This is particularly awe inspiring for me, who has never met a five word sentence I couldn’t torture into twenty.
In my desperate attempt to say something fresh about a book I’ve read a hundred and eleventy twelve times, I have noticed that this book seems to resonate more with women in my experience, and I think that it’s because women are conditioned to expect to be Gatsby. If you reinvent yourself from head to toe, change your name, your appearance, your hobbies (and buy a bunch of books with uncut pages), and get The One, you’ll be fulfilled. It’s nice to read a book that has a male protagonist for a change who is driven to do this, but I don’t think it’s an accident that when it’s a man it’s the Great American Novel and when it’s a woman she’s shallow.
Pedantic asshole complaint — the optometrist sign that features so prominently in the book, ominously looking over the climactic car accident that sets in motion the final act? Yeah, unless it’s a really weird sign, the RETINA isn’t a giant blue circle X feet high. Retina is the back. It’s a giant iris. (Adjusts glasses smugly, tilts pedantic dunce cap that has “WELL ACTUALLY” printed down the side.) I work in ophthalmology and it rankles every time I see this, and it’s a surprisingly common error.
I’m gonna conclude with possibly the best line to conclude a book ever: “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.” There’s a reason this is a classic.