I’ve read a couple of Fitzgerald’s books in my time. As in two. After school ruined the joy of The Great Gatsby by over analysing and a general lack of interest in The Beautiful and the Damned, I didn’t think too much about F. I mean, I know he writes great books about the twenties, rich people, and disillusionment but I never really connected fully with him. That is, until I read This Side of Paradise. Right off the bat the book caught me eye. I had seen a copy sitting in my sister’s room and Hemingway (probably because of A Moveable Feast) always makes me think of F. Not to mention the pretty name. (Side note: F. is really good at naming books. I mean, think about how catchy and pretty they all. You see a book with the title The Beautiful and the Damned and you will pull that book off the shelf). And I was immediately excited because (having recently read A Separate Peace) the promise of war and fancy schools was on my mind. So I bought it and read it and enjoyed it.
And, as expected, the book is beautiful. F. has a great writing style that isn’t really prose but just reads wonderfully. though the general plot line isn’t hard to guess with the other books in F.’s collection, This Side of Paradise captivated me immensely. It is a bit repetitive with the peaks and valley’s of Amory’s love and listlessness, but smart. The kind of book you read when you want ideas and to think. Amory does name drop a little, but for much of the book he is just a student trying to find answers- which I connect to. He reads and learns and just tries to understand the world but keeps finding out that his way of thinking is wrong or not right for him or just becomes to broken down to think anymore.
There is a seamless way F. weaves poetry into the story, adding in lines here and there to show Amory’s (the main character) emotions. At one part the story changes into a play. While weird at first, it made complete sense for the format to change as well as giving air to the reading. We’ve all had moments where lines just blur together and F.’s ease-filled breaks keep that from happening.
Overall the book is very good. The writing is amazing, I had never read a book that changes formats like it. It holds the same symbolism as The Great Gatsby but was more relatable. Nick never seemed as easy to understand to me, but Amory was. It was a great read written but an amazing author