The Great Gatsby

It seems to be that whichever I do first – read the book or watch the movie – is which medium I like better. If I read the book then watch the movie, I like the book better but usually can still appreciate the movie for what it is (depending on the adaptation of course). However, if I see the movie then read the book, I end up hating the book.  So if I see a commercial for a movie I want to see that I know is based off of a book, I try the book first.

So more than a year ago now, when I first saw a commercial for the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I knew I was going to have to find a copy of the book.  While just about everyone I know seems to have read it back in High School English classes, I went to a Catholic High School and we did not follow the standardized curriculum everyone else did. So that’s how I, at 24, ended up reading The Great Gatsby for the first time. After a few false starts, I picked The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald up yesterday and finished it today.
If you have been living under a rock (or like me – in a plaid kilt and logo embroidered polo shirt), here’s a brief summary: Nick Carroway moves to Long Island in the summer of 1922, living next to the lavish mansion owned by Jay Gatsby.  Gatsby holds extravagant parties at this mansion but Nick learns most of the guests had never even met the host and no one knows what he does or how he came to have such wealth.  I’m hesitant to say anything else regarding the plot. My copy is 154 pages so to reference something in the third chapter or beyond would be a third of the way through the book.
I initially started this figuring maybe I’d have something to say by the time I finished the summary and let it all absorb a bit more…but well.. I’ve got nothing.
I have the 75th anniversary edition and as such there are numerous prefaces and articles and such.  All discuss the masterpiece of the novel and one says that it “is a classic – a novel that is read spontaneously by pleasure-seekers and under duress by students” (Matthew J. Bruccoli – University of South Carolina, 1992).  Well – I am definitely the first category – I’m no longer a student and there isn’t a teacher guiding me towards seeing the symbols and understanding them. And as someone reading for enjoyment, I was underwhelmed by the story. I feel like I must be missing something. I read through some articles to get some clarity regarding the symbols – lord knows I am far from a literary expert when it comes to these things, but even with that, I still feel like I am not seeing or comprehending something here.
Maybe it’s just me.
It’s probably just me.
Either way, still gonna find Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation asap.