TITLE: This Side of Paradise
AUTHOR: F. Scott Fitzgerald
PUBLICATION: Project Gutenberg
This semiautobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame.
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .
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.