What makes a book get to the renowned section dubbed “The Classics?” What makes it classic? How many people have read it? How many people liked it? How many people hated it? Or is it all a game of chance? Is there a formula to what makes a book a classic?
These questions may be too complicated to answer in one blog post, and I don’t really think I’m looking for an answer. I’m one of those people who judge a movie like this:
Critics love it — I’m going to hate it.
Critics hate it — It’s going to be my new favorite movie!
I have never held much stock in Tony or Emmy awards since they don’t go to the person or movie the people I would’ve picked. I appreciate the People’s Choice Awards for this very reason. So in spite of my doubts, I decided to read a classic recently.
The Great Gatsby
I’ve never seen the movie, only snippets here and there. Nothing much is given away there, and the movie can be SO much different than the book. (We nerds know that REALLY well! lol)
Therefore, I dove in with very little expectations except for the Taylor Swift song line, “Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year.” I had images of gold and crystal, fine china and gorgeous gowns, excess beyond wildest dreams and a beautiful dream of a novel to go with it. Ok….maybe I had a few expectations, lol.
You all know the drill:
*****SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT*****
As I read the story, I was drawn in by the character of Nick. Fitzgerald had this beautiful way of creating this observed world through our narrator. It was rather ordinary scenes he portrayed in a dazzling kind of way. However, the other characters turned me off from the beginning. Daisy, the elusive love in the story of The Great Gatsby, was nothing like I thought she’d be. I found her flighty, whiny, and very eager to give excuses for her bully of a husband. Gatsby I decided was even less interesting. He merely puts on displays to appear in a certain way to make up for the past in his head. You rarely ever glimpse an authentic moment within these two characters. They simply are infatuated with one another. Not in love. That is something very different.
I know I’m probably stepping on a few sacred cows here, but this is for all those who don’t like “classics.” Just because a title has been called “classic” does not mean everyone will love it. Nor does it mean that it is an amazing book. Reading is relative, like everything else in life. Your favorite book is your favorite for your reasons. And mine is my favorite for my reasons. It comes from our experiences, our backgrounds, our values. And there is nothing wrong with that.
In my personal opinion, the ending of TGG can be read in two ways. Comment if you have any others!
- These two were star-crossed lovers who passed in the night and never had the chance to live together in the true love they shared. OR………
- They were two idiots who got what they deserved.
I know that seems harsh but I honestly think this plot leaves a lot to be desired.
I’ve made mistakes in life. A lot of stupid mistakes. I’ve mistaken infatuation for love, and want for need, and good for GOD AWFUL! I’ve ignored my gut instincts. I’ve regretted ignoring my gut instincts. Just like the characters in this book, I am imperfect.
Maybe that’s what makes this book a classic. Not that it is happy or has good closure, or leaves us uplifted, but it instead makes us ask the hard questions in life. It makes us second guess whether or not we truly listen to that little voice that tells us who we truly are.
I won’t give it that many stars (because let’s face it, I’m a need-a-prince-on-a-white-horse kind of gal! lol) but I will give Fitzgerald this: he made me think.