Everything I’ve reviewed and shared on this site, I’ve given a glowing stamp of approval. Not as in a ‘glow-in-the-dark’ stamp or a ‘radioactive glowing stamp’, but I enjoy everything I’ve shared on my site thus far.
This time, however, I didn’t completely love what I read. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut novel, chronicles his early adult years in an thinly veiled fictionalized account. What follows is two hundred fifty pages that disregards structure in favor of a free-form story that reads, at times, more like a stream-of-consciousness loaded with fantastic quotes such as this:
The frank, candid nature of Fitzgerald’s descriptions of college life and early adulthood were quite risqué when the book was published in the early 1900s. Lots of alcohol, substances, and wild love. That type of information is much more commonplace now, however, so the value of that is a bit lost in this modern day and age.
To be honest, Fitzgerald’s writing in this book felt dry to me. I definitely recognize it’s good, it just didn’t resonate with me. Even though I struggled to finish it, I could definitely relate to a lot of the stories and messages Fitzgerald was recounting. Stories about growing up always connect to people, even if the writing doesn’t appeal to me.
I’d still recommend that everyone give this book a read, even though I didn’t like it as much as other things I’ve reviewed. It was a seminal work for its time, and from a writer’s standpoint, it’s helpful to read other well-received books so you can learn something that you can try in your writing.
If you’ve read This Side of Paradise, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I hadn’t read it, I’ll add it to the list!