Thursday, May 28, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: So We Read On. How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures by Maureen Corrigan

So We Read On. How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures by Maureen Corrigan was a should-read for me (a library book, for one thing), but it was also a book I did want to read. And I only had to read a few pages before being drawn in. In fact, I was a bit surprised by how compellingly readable this book is.

Corrigan LOVES The Great Gatsby, and by the end of this book, she’ll convince you that you should, too. The author is a Fitzgerald fan, but she comes right out and says that this is his only great novel. So We Read On is an exploration of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece from a variety of interesting angles. It traces the history of the resurgence of the novel’s popularity and critical acclaim after its initial poor reception and decline into obscurity. A biography of Fitzgerald is woven through the analysis, which adds to the understanding of the novel. His life story is poignant and tragic. The posthumous success of the novel is therefore a triumph, but, given how much it would have meant to him during his lifetime, sad.

The best part of So We Read On is its examination of the novel itself. Corrigan puts forth several theories/analyses of The Great Gatsby--what makes it a great book and an odd book, why it is a decidedly un-American Great American Novel.

I read Gatsby for the first time not too long ago (almost three years ago- longer than I thought). I liked it quite a bit, but didn’t love it since I had just finished a Balzac novel that impressed me more. Clearly, I didn’t read Gatsby closely enough! Corrigan’s interpretations show the scope and importance of the novel and explain why it does endure. Many of the details she refers to had me thinking: huh, I don’t remember that. All of which make me want to read Gatsby again, which I believe is the point. So, well done!

This is my sixth book completed for the Nonfiction Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting book. I haven't read Gatsby yet but am always intrigued about why certain books are considered to be great.