Who reads the classics anymore? Teens - that's who. Check out this review from one of our Teen Advisory Council volunteers and see if it inspires you to dust off that classic reading list.
The Great Gatsby is a period piece set in New York during the Roaring Twenties. At its core, The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story. The novel tells the journey of Jay Gatsby, a newly rich man in New York, as he tries to win back the love of an old flame, Daisy, who is married to an abusive man, Tom. The novel is told through the eyes of Nick, a relative of Daisy who moves into the house next to Gatsby. As the story progresses, Nick learns more and more about the backstory of his eccentric neighbor. All the while, Gatsby does everything possible to try and win Daisy’s love.
The book tackles themes that are still debated today. Through the character of Gatsby, who we learn grew up poor but became a criminal to get rich, Fitzgerald explores what the American Dream really is and whether it is even achievable through traditional means. Simultaneously, themes of love, hope and betrayal permeate the love triangle between Tom, Gatsby and Daisy. Fitzgerald is a master at descriptive word usage. When he describes a summer day, it is like you are there, sweating right beside the characters. At times, the characters are very shallow, which some readers may not enjoy but it’s fitting for the time period. While some may be turned off by the age of this book, I would argue that it is the most accessible classic novel I have read. The relatable themes of love, hope and the American Dream are still entirely relevant today. The decadence and extravagance of the Twenties are the perfect setting for a melodramatic tale. The Great Gatsby is one of the few books my school assigned that I actually really enjoyed. I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction or a good drama. - Cameron H. (Sunset Teen Advisory Council)