I received this book for free from Library for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by Blackstone Audio
Genres: Classical, Fiction
A captivating story about the fabulously deceptive Jazz Age with a unique ensemble of characters.
5 *, I loved it. The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald whisked me away to the lavish Jazz Age with it’s dark and mysterious creatures. I don’t think the narrator enhanced the story in the audiobook I listened to on Blackstone Audio so if I had to do it again, I would get The Great Gatsby narrated by Jake Gyllenhal*.
Fitzgerald’s elegantly simple work captures the spirit of the Jazz Age and embodies America’s obsessions with wealth, power, and the promise of new beginnings. – – Jay Gatsby is still in love with Daisy, whom he met during the war when he was penniless. Having made himself wealthy through illegal means, he now lives in a mansion across the bay from the home of Daisy Buchanan, who has since married for money. Holding on to his illusion of Daisy as perfect, he seeks to impress her with his wealth, and uses his new neighbor, Nick Carraway, (our narrator), to reach her. Daisy’s wealthy but boring husband is cheating on her. When his mistress is killed in an accident caused by Daisy, Gatsby covers for her and takes the blame. The result is a murder and an ending which reveals the failure of money to buy love or happiness.
I picked up Gatsby* to try and satisfy a couple reading challenges and it came highly recommended to me from several people. Low and behold, when I saw that the movie was coming out, I had to read it before I saw it so my mind’s eye can paint it’s own untainted picture.
I loved the story. I liked that Jay Gatsby had a bit of a shady, mysterious past. How did he become a millionaire at such a young age and why is he still single? He harbors some secrets and a pining for another rich man’s wife, Daisy Buchanan. I enjoyed hearing about Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle and the elaborate parties he threw and when Gatsby and Daisy meet again for the first time, the scene is touching and poignant. Daisy is stuck married to an arrogant and adultering husband, Tom, the kind of character that makes my skin crawl (and not in a good way).
From seeing the movie trailer, the actress that plays Daisy is well cast. Her mesmerizing voice charms the men around her in the book, although the audiobook narrator’s voice does not do the character justice. Nick, the book’s narrator, did not seem very deep and his relationships with the other characters are rather superficial. Gatsby seems to use Nick as a pawn just to get closer to Nick’s cousin, Daisy.
While most of the time my enjoyment of a book really depends on my emotional attachment to the characters, for the Great Gatsby my enjoyment really stemmed from losing myself in a different lavish time with their fancy cars, fancy parties and fancy people with dark, mysterious secrets. I certainly see why this book is so popular, worth reading and I’m going to have to watch the movie again.
Fitzgerald’s style is eloquent and intriguing. I would definitely like to read more of his novels and the nonfiction and historical fiction accounts of his tumultous relationship with his wife Zelda.
Favorite Quotes from The Great Gatsby:
“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (Daisy talking about her daughter)
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
Did the Great Gatsby Audiobook Narrator Enhance the Story?
I love audiobooks and sneaking in reading time while I’m doing more mundane tasks like folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom and even to accompany another of my favorite pastimes, doing jigsaw puzzles. I really love when an audiobook narrator enhances the story and make it even more intense, magical or emotional. It can be tricky though especially when one narrator does both female and male roles as they often do.
The Blackstone Audio audiobook narrator didn’t really enhance the story for me but he didn’t really make it any worse either. Like I said, he didn’t make Daisy’s voice as charming and enigmatic as I had envisioned. I see that actor Jake Gyllenhal narrated this version on Audible* so you could listen to Gatsby for free with an Audible trial*. You can hear a sample and I think he did a good job. I love when actors narrate audiobooks, I think they often do an exceptional job at bringing the story to life with their voices that traditional audiobook narrators sometimes miss.
Reading Challenges The Great Gatsby Satisfied:
If you like reading challenges like I do, here are some that The Great Gatsby would qualify for:
- Rory Gilmore reading challenge
- Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge (for 2019, you can use it for the following prompts)
- a book with at least 1 million ratings on Goodreads
- a reread of a favorite book
- a book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover (depending on the cover you choose)
- a book you’ve seen someone in TV or movie reading (since it’s on the Rory Gilmore Challenge, we know it means we see Rory reading it on the show
- A to Z Reading Challenge – goes by the title name, so G.
- Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
- Audiobook Reading Challenge
- Classics Club
Other Books Like The Great Gatsby You Might Enjoy:
- Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen – 5*, a forbidden romance budding amidst the glitz and glamor of India’s royal palace
- The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon – 4*, historical fiction based on a true crime in 1930’s New York
- Five Night Stand by Richard Alley – 4*, a jazz pianist plays a 5 night run before retirement. A wonderful tribute to music with lyrical writing that will make you want to play!
- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald* by Therese Anne Fowler – historical fiction based on the lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. I hear it’s a good one!
Other Audiobooks Narrated by Actors You Might Enjoy:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 5*, narrated by Sissy Spacek and probably my favorite audiobook of all time
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens* – narrated by Tim Curry, he cracks me up and I love his voice!
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie* – narrated by a full cast of actors, I love that Audible has these Original Dramas to really get you in the spirit of the novel!
I think The Great Gatsby* is a great book for readers who want to escape to the excitement and sultry Jazz age. Don your best flapper gear, grab a sparkly beverage and get lost in this classic.
Have you read or seen Gatsby? Have you read any of Fitzgerald’s other novels or historical fiction about F. Scott and Zelda? Any other Jazz Age novels that you enjoyed or recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts, just leave me a comment! As always, happy reading!
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