My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Never have I been much of a Fitzgerald fan. Never. Not when I read Gatspy in high school (especially not the way it’s taught- ugh!). Not when I read Paradise in grad school. And now, post-damned, I’m still not sure I really like him. So why have I read three of his books? Well… I think I wanted to read something about New York–something roaring or perhaps I just wanted to hate on him again. It’s too easy to see the failings in this book. They’re almost irrefutable. The story just lurches along. Fitzgerald self-indulgently over-describes, falls for cheap tricks, overkills the “theme” and in the end, it’s all sort of a wreck. But he’s such a flawed writer that his flaws actually become kind of endearing to me. I could feel the writing (or the struggle to write) throughout. It’s easy to tangle Fitzgerald up with his characters (and not just one of them) in a delicate self-reflexive mess. And while this writerly writing is usually a pain in my ass, Fitzgerald’s vulnerability sort of saves it, redeems it, and ends up being not a little extraordinary.