Three and a half stars, first read in fall 2001, read again June 2013.
It seems like most people have strong reactions to this book—they either love it or hate it. (I actually didn’t know anyone hated it until I reread it last year, but apparently they do. I suppose this makes sense, for the book that’s considered The Great American Novel.) Fifty of my Goodreads friends have read it, and I had to scroll down through more than thirty four- and five-star ratings before I found anyone who’d given it only three.
I don’t hate it for the fact that it’s “just a bunch of rich people being stupid,” as many people say. But I’m not floored by it, either, and I don’t think I was floored by it when I first read it in high school. I appreciate the social commentary and the tragic, grandiose characters (who, let’s be honest, you’re not supposed to admire).
I love the beautiful language and style—Fitzgerald has a brilliant sense of pacing and lyricism. It is, as the author intended it to be, “consciously artistic,” somehow both “simple and intricately patterned” (the author’s own words, from the preface and the publisher’s afterword of the Authorized Text edition from Scribner). And, simply, I enjoyed it.