Book and film review | The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby is a short novel, written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and it was published in 1925. In the time of its publishing, not many people liked it and it got very mixed reviews, and Fitzgerald died in 1940, thinking that he was a complete failure. But during World War II, people adored it and re-read it over and over again and it became one of the great American classics, as well as one of the most well known stories regarding "the American Dream".

The story takes place in a fictional town called the West Egg on Long Island in New York. Nick Carraway rents a house in the West Egg, which is known as the not-so-prestigious part of the city. He has a job on Wall Street as a bond salesman.
Next door to him lives a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who throws amazing parties every weekend, which are highly popular and the biggest thing that ever happens in the West Egg.
On the opposite side of the bay is the East Egg, the more-prestigious part of New York. Nick's cousin Daisy lives there with her husband Tom. Nick, who also narrates the whole story, gets to meet many people through his cousin and she gets to be reunited with the love of her life through him.
One day, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's parties. The thing is, nobody's invited. Everyone just arrives there and they're all welcome. He sees one of the friends that he got to meet through Daisy, Jordan Baker and also the mysterious neighbour, the great Gatsby, who asks a favour of Nick.
Through Jordan, Nick learns that Gatsby and Daisy knew each other for a long, long time, all the way back to 1917 and they love each other. Because of those couple of weeks in 1917, he moved to the West Egg, directly opposite Daisy's house, hoping that he'll see her again. He contains his hope by constantly staring at the green light at the end of Daisy's dock.
When he realises that Nick knows Daisy, he asks him to invite her over for tea to be reunited with her. The initial reunion is god-damn awkward, but in a short while, they begin their affair. Her husband grows more and more suspicious and during luncheons in their house, Tom realises that she's in love with him. To reveal his true purposes, he makes Nick, Daisy, Jordan and Gatsby drive to the Plaza Hotel in New York, where he reveals that Gatsby was involved in all kinds of illegal matters. Because of that, Daisy realises that she's sworn to Tom and couldn't possibly leave him.
To prove his point, he sends Gatsby and Daisy back home to the East Egg, all alone. On that journey, they kill Myrtle, who was Tom's mistress. In the end, Myrtle's husband identifies the yellow car they drove as Gatsby's and even though he didn't drive it, he decides to kill him and then himself. Gatsby dies at the end of the book and Nick holds a small funeral for him and then he moves out of New York.

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First off, the book. I find all of Fitzgerald's work so easy to read. Unlike some of the other works from that era, this one is very light, although the topic certainly isn't. The language is very rich, but it doesn't make you check every single word in the dictionary, which is great. The dialogues are lively and very easy to follow and that goes to the whole book as well.
I have absolutely nothing bad to say of it, it's an amazing book and definitely worth a read. In fact, I'd say that it's one of the books every person has to read at least once in their lifetime, because it's so good. Besides, it's one of the American classics, so they definitely aren't bad, unlike some of the crap they publish these days (*cough* Twilight *cough*).

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Then the film (disclaimer: I'll be talking of the 2013 version, not the 1970-something with Robert Redford.) I've seen it fairly recently, although I have been planning to watch the old version ever since I've seen Midnight In Paris (with Tom Hiddleston playing Fitzgerald) and when the 2013 version came out, I was all hyped up. Then I didn't get the chance to watch it anywhere...then I wasn't bothered anymore... then my roommate had it on her USB key and we said: "What the hell?" and watched it.
I've seen quite a few bad reviews on the new version...and I see why. Regarding the cast, they were all pretty epic and amazing. I read the book before I've seen the film and when the dialogues went on, I imagined how they sounded AND IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AS IN THE FILM. All of the characters were portrayed perfectly, but there was something wrong with directing the film. Yes, Baz Luhrmann is a freaking amazing director, but you could clearly see that the background was all mainly green-screened. It looked as if they didn't have enough budget to film it on an actual film location, appropriate for the film.
Also... the soundtrack. What the fuck were they thinking when they were putting the film together? Involve hip-hop, rap and Lana Del fucking Rey? I know that he was trying to take a modern twist on the whole story, like he did with Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, but sorry... it just didn't fucking fit. Well, the majority of it didn't fit, apart from Love Is Blindness by Jack White and Over The Love by Florence + The Machine.

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Speaking of Over The Love, I heard the song before I watched the film as well... I didn't realise how many references the band made to the book. I think there's a whole paragraph in the third chapter talking about a red-haired singer (!) in a yellow dress (!!), singing about her lover (!!!) and crying during the breaks (!!!!). I loved the song and all the references. I'd go as far to say that it's probably the highlight of the whole soundtrack, because it's crap, apart from that song and Love Is Blindness.

Overall, the book is brilliant and I'd give it a 5/5, but I wasn't so impressed with the film, so I'd give it 3/5.

I picked up this idea for book and film reviews together from booksandquills (feel free to check her out, she's awesome) and I don't take any of the credits for making up this format. However, if you'd like to see me do more of these, I've got a couple of things to say about the Book Thief and perhaps the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars (when it comes out in June), please tell me.
Until next time,
xxx Katherine


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