Review: This Side of Paradise

TITLE: This Side of Paradise
AUTHOR: F. Scott Fitzgerald
PUBLICATION: Project Gutenberg
FORMAT: E-book


This semiautobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame.


I have had very little exposure to F. Scott Fitzgerald and his lauded works. My previous experience is reduced to Flappers and Philosophers and the short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (which I confess that I enjoyed a great deal). I have something of a need to read his books considering my liking of him as a character in the films Last Call and Midnight in Paris. I hesitate to make it a side-project here because I hate to tie myself down to read specific books in any situation.

I thought that Fitzgerald’s philosophical points in the last few dozen pages were quite enjoyable to read. Why couldn’t the whole book have been like this? In a very Mark Twain-like Letters from the Earth experience? Okay, so perhaps I require too much.

Nothing happened. And this bothers me. Amory spends his time dawdling in Princeton and then experiences a few romantic intrigues. I rather half hoped that he would decide to commit suicide and then bring the reader sweet relief. I found nothing to recommend the character and I had one of those moments you experience while reading a book where you get the desire to beat a character with a stick.

I realize that I have a very conflicting relationship with Fitzgerald. On the one hand I could lose myself in his prose and regret nothing about savoring his style. On the other hand his story is rather boring and the characters brought me no end to antagonisms. Most of it was a constant battle to read and the dilemma of wondering whether the notion to read through Fitzgerald’s work is worth the agony of suffering through something that I find exceedingly horrible. If it was a physical book I may have thrown it across the room.

Final verdict? Worst book of 2012.


6 thoughts on “Review: This Side of Paradise

  1. I hate maddening characters. I’ve never read Fitzgerald before and still have no desire to do so.
    On a completely side-tracked note; I can’t stop staring at Hawkeye. I admit I’m nursing a little crush on him and Captain America at the moment. 😀

    • I might take a break from Fitzgerald and read my other e-books. Or all those library books I have piled around the house. ^^;;

      Victoria, do you have a Tumblr account? It would make that crush about ten times worse! I don’t post a lot on my Tumblr, but I do like looking at the insane dashboard feed I get for Tom Hiddleston stuff.

      • I am down to one library ebook, and I’m going to pick up another book tomorrow from the library – though I really should be working on my TBR pile at home.
        Yes, I have a Tumblr, I just put up the link on my blog. 😀 It has fed my crush on Captain America even though I try to limit myself. I haven’t looked up Hawkeye yet though. I’m trying to fight the temptation, and losing, badly. Lol.

  2. Wait, so you haven’t read Gatsby, though? I’d give Fitzgerald one more chance, just for The Great Gatsby, because it is sooo good. I’ve read a couple of his other books and they’re more like empty promises. I mean, he clearly has talent, but I agree that he often fails to deliver on it. He kind of gets his act together, though, for The Great Gatsby. Even though he’s still writing about people who are frustrating, to say the least, I think characters like Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are somewhat redeeming. And the book actually has a plot, if that helps.

    • I’m not giving up on Fitzgerald. I still have three other books on my e-reader taunting me, including The Great Gatsby. However, I might take a break and read some other books. Come back to Scott when I need that wonderful prose style.

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