Book Number Eleven – This Side of Paradise by F.Scott Fitzgerald.
I know that The Great Gatsby is one of those books that you either love or hate, but for me I adored it. From the moment I read it, I became obsessed with all things Fitzgerald and greedily researched his other work. When it came up in my reading challenge that I had to read the first novel of a popular author, I thought this would be ideal.
I’d never read This Side of Paradise before now and instantly I found that familiar charm and romantic word use that is well known in Francis’ other work. Like his other work we have a charming protagonist by the name of Amory Blaine. A young man who after being raised, predominantly by his mother, in a rather unusual way heads for Princeton in the hope that it will provide him with the answer to his calling in life.
Along the way there are many friends. Philosophies on life, politics and religion are shared and of course there are different girls who touch Amory’s life at various points in his life. The novel is split into three books, and this really allowed me to get a greater understanding of Amory and how he changed and grew as person. But perhaps one of the main themes I took away from the book is desire to find something in life, whether it is the ability to write, or have faith in religion or the shared love of a woman, as human beings we are always searching for that extra thing that we feel will make us whole.
There are some dark elements to the book, when Amory turns to alcohol to numb himself from the painful break up from Isabelle, I found this particularly well written and it comes as no surprise that F.Scott Fitzgerald based it on his own experiences. If you’re hoping to read this novel and feel inspired with romance I’m afraid you will be disheartened. However what you will get is another beautiful novel that perfectly captures the confusion, anger and heartbreak of life when you’re young, trying to find your place in the world and be understood.
‘The early moon had drenched the arches with pale blue, and, weaving over the night, in and out of the gossamer rifts of moon, swept a song, a song with more than a hint of sadness, infinitely transient, infinitely regretful.’
Star Rating out of 5: 4
Happy reading fellow bookworms.