Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Side of Paradise

Title: This Side of Paradise
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
List: #91 on Radcliffe’s Top 100 20th Century Novels
Worth reading? Yes

This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut novel, tells the tale of a young man trying to find his place in the world. The young man, Amory Blaine, has quite a high opinion of himself and is convinced that he will do well in the future. This confidence is both shattered and built back up throughout the novel, and some of his failures are due to his unwillingness to work for what he believes he deserves simply because of who he is and what he looks like. During the course of the novel, he becomes increasingly disillusioned with his former plans and tries to discover and understand himself.

The author uses a variety of writing styles and I found that this mix makes for an engagingly written novel. From simple prose, we progress through some of Amory’s poems and letters, view a narrative drama, experience free verse, and end up back in a fictional narrative. Although this blend has the potential to be disorienting, Fitzgerald manages to unite the styles in a cohesive whole that made for an amusing rather than confusing read. And so I think This Side of Paradise is worth reading, particularly if, like me, the only other Fitzgerald book you've read is The Great Gatsby because you were required to read it in high school.

1 comment:

  1. I liked your commentary on this book because I have always thought "The Great Gatsby" was overrated, and wondereed whether his other works were well written or not.

    It sounds like quite an experimental writing style, for the time frame, but that it works well. If I read another Fitzgerald book, this might be the one!