Sparkle. Gin. Dazzle. Adultery. Decadence. Mystery. Grandeur. Tragedy.
The Great Gatsby.
This month's book club pick has left me shell shocked.
At once, I was captivated with Fitzgerald's beautifully detailed descriptions and the masterful way he painted the setting and tone. Sure, the story was meant to be a commentary on the moral decay of American society in the face of unexpected and unprecedented affluence, but ultimately, it is an incredible tale of thwarted love.
Reading about Gatsby's parties gave me a thrill; I could totally envision the glitz and glamour, the ridiculous behavior, and the celebrity guests. I could empathize with the busyness, the relentless pursuit of fun and happiness, only to find that the greatly anticipated dream fell apart in face of reality and unworthiness.
In so many ways, I found myself drawn in and relating to principle characters and circumstances in this book. No, I may never have had my nose broken in a drunken rage by my lover at a clandestine love shack meeting unbeknownst to my husband, but I HAVE been so disillusioned and discontent with the truth around me that I have desperately clung to what I know was wrong and unhealthy, just to make the real world stop, even for a little while. Gatsby's ambition, his relentless pursuit to fulfill his impossible dreams; Daisy's shallowness and deep need to be loved; Tom's hypocrisy; Jordan's cynicism and self absorption… Sometimes it seemed like these characters were reflecting little pieces of me back from the pages.
Maybe that's why all of the build up and anticipation shattering around me like a champagne flute from one of Gatsby's parties has left me feeling so hollow.