him and her book review: the great gatsby

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Michael and I both read The Great Gatsby this week. We thought it would be fun to give it a reread before we hit the theaters to see it. Here is a little him & her book review and don't worry... no spoilers!


Nick Carraway is a bonds salesman in New York shortly after World War I, when he ends up living next to the enigmatic Jay Gatsby. No one really knows who Gatsby is, or where he came from, besides the elaborate parties that are always going on at his mansion. WORLDS COLLIDE as Nick gets to know Gatsby, Nick's cousin Daisy and her husband Tom get pulled into the equation, all while Nick pursues his own love interest along the way.



What I liked:
The book is very short. The writing is clear and the story doesn't get lost in extra words. This made it quite a page turner. I loved falling in love with the flawed Mr. Gatsby. That is one thing that I feel often lacks in short novels, character development, but somehow Mr. Fitzgerald has found a way to weave this rich web of back story and progression. 

This book had me thinking about it long after I finished. I love when a book does that. 

What I didn't like:
I WISH that I had not seen the trailer before I read the book. How I made it through High School without it being required reading I am not sure. The whole time I kept picturing Toby and Leo. It wasn't until about half way through that I was able to push them out completely. In my mind, Nick Carraway is a blondy. 

Favorite Quotes:
"... it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." pg 3

"The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain." pg. 86

"He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, and some idea of himself perhaps..." pg. 110

Rating out of 5 stars:



What I liked:
What's not to like? It's short and to the point. On the surface it's a simple story, but in fact it's incredibly complex, rich with texture and layers for each of the characters, as well as the plot. Often insightful, there are twists, turns, and surprises, all while staying true to the characters and accurately portraying the human condition.

Fitzgerald's writing is fantastic. It's vivid and engaging. The scenes played out in my head in amazing detail, allowing me to really experience the character interactions and have a sense of impact as things were happening. 

The plot really sticks with you, as well. Again, it seems so simple, but slowly as more and more is revealed about the characters, their backstories, it becomes clear what a deeply layered story it really is. And then before you know it, it all converges at the climax, leaving you thinking about what it all means. I love a book that makes me think and poses questions that stick with me and continue to challenge my perceptions and understanding about the world long after I've finished the book.

What I didn't like:
I didn't really enjoy picturing Tobey Maguire as the narrator.

Favorite Quotes:
"Reserving judgment is a matter of infinite hope." - Pg. 6

On Tom: "'Now, don't think my opinion on these matters is final,' he seemed to say, 'just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you are.'" - Pg. 11

Daisy: "'You see I think everything's terrible anyhow,' she went on in a convinced way. 'Everybody thinks so--the most advanced people. And Iknow. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.... Sophisticated--God, I'm sophisticated!'" - Pg. 22

"I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity." - Pg. 62

One of Gatsby's and Nick's first real interactions:
"'Look here, old sport,' he broke out surprisingly. 'What's your opinion of me anyhow?' A little overwhelmed I began the generalized evasions which that question deserves." - Pg. 69

And then of course the famous: "You can't repeat the past."
"Can't repeat the past?" He cried incredulously, "Why of course you can!" Pg. 116

Rating out of 5 stars:
Classic for a reason 5/5


  1. This review was really good. Somehow I got through high school without having to read it too. It's on my list to read before I see the movie. I'm a stickler for reading any book before I see the movie. I have heard it's amazing. I'd love to see a review and comparison after you see it!

  2. This is great! I'm looking online to see if I can get it quick -- I can't wait to read it.

  3. ok. I LOVE your review. I have a copy from the library and now I definitely need to get it read. You two have made me excited!

  4. I loved reading your reviews! It's so cute that you guys did this. This is by far one of my favorite books. I read it twice in high school and I wanted to read it again before I saw the movie but I couldn't find the book anywhere locally! So... I ended up seeing the movie and now I am going crazy because I know I need to read the book again- which I will do soon. So what did you think of the movie then? I saw it last night and many things are going through my mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

    PS I'm the girl who you conversed with about staying up really late only to get up 5 hours later on instagram the other night haha.

    xo Jessica

  5. so so so sad, but such a thought provoking and beautiful classic story! I actually really loved the movie, the scenes in it were exactly how I pictured it when I read it junior year. And to be honest, I think Toby did great as Nick. The innocent little standby who gets dragged around everywhere. He had some funny moments in the movie, haha. And oh- Leo. Perfect role for Gatsby! And from previews, I didn't like Carey Mulligan for Daisy - but she grew on me in the movie.

    I wanted to re-read the book after seeing the movie, but of course I'm #37 in line for our public library. asdlfj;ajsdf