The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrator: Jake Gyllenhaal
Run Time: 4hr 52 minutes
Produced By: Audible Inc
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written in 1925, it is often referred to as “The Great American Novel,” and as the quintessential work which captures the mood of the “Jazz Age.”
The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the “roaring” 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers.
Why I Chose The Great Gatsby:
So this is one of those books that most American students read in high school, but since I went to school overseas, it was never on a required reading list. But when I was putting together my classics list for the challenge, it seemed like a good book to include – I mean, its on reading lists for a reason right? (I’ve yet to actually figure that reason out, even after listening to it). And since there is a movie remake of it that was just released starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire – I figured it was a good time to listen to it. I have to say though that I was decidedly underwhelmed with it.
This is one of those books that isn’t long – and the audiobook is only like 5 hours long – but those 5 hours seemed to drag. I just never felt like I was connected with the characters; I couldn’t care about them. I get that it was supposed to highlight the decadency of the 1920’s and the Jazz age – all the parties; the soirees; anti-prohibition etc – but it just didn’t work for me. I honestly about cheered when the climax of the book played out because I knew that I was almost done and that the goal of knocking it off my list was behind me. I find it hard to even write a constructive review of the book because I didn’t struggle with it so much. So this is about it…
Even the narration by Jake Gyllenhal – an actor who I enjoy – didn’t improve on the experience. I found his narration to be a bit lacking in places. The first hour or so was very dull and you could tell that there were some issues with him developing the characters voices – but he did soon settle into a good rhythm and the narration improved – but by then, I just didn’t care…
I do have to wonder why this book is still on high school reading lists – because if I was still in high school, I probably would have rebelled against reading this or just skimmed it enough to BS my way through any class discussions/papers on themes…it wouldn’t be of interest to me. I guess that is why I never took any American Literature courses in college…