Monday, February 18, 2013

The Great Gatsby: A Love Story

Today's prompt asks me what the most romantic book I ever read was. In truth, I do not read a lot of romantic books. I tend to like memoirs and stories about a character overcoming their past. But last weekend, I re-read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and I read it in two sittings. I forgot how much I loved that book, and even though I could never understand what Gatsby saw in Daisy other than "money," or this marker that he had finally made it, I can't help but feel an ache in my heart for the poor bastard who I forever will envision as the young Robert Redford. (Although, the new movie has a cast that looks equally delicious.) For someone who has a knee-jerk reaction of aversion to money and class, I do find myself caught up in the warm boozy summer nights on West Egg at one of Jay Gatsby's parties as he secretly waits and hopes for Daisy to arrive.

In many ways, Gatsby is still a character trying to overcome his past. But his naivete and complete devotion to a woman he describes as " a nice girl" equates to the kind of love everyone experiences with that first real crush. The only difference is that Gatsby never let it go and kept his love alive by creating a story around Daisy, a picture of a woman, who in the end, she could never have lived up to.

A friend recently asked me, Is Gatsby really a love story? 

My answer, Yes, a cruel one. 

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