Wednesday, October 3, 2012

015. Flappers & Philosophers

The Great Gatsby is one of the only novels I ever read multiple times. It seems to me that each time I flip through the pages, it's almost like reading an entirely different book, and I never know whether I'm just noticing more, or if it is because I have changed and grown as a person.

I have always been some what enamored with Fitzgerald because of his ability to throw so many different ideas into one book so masterfully. For me, reading Gatsby is like looking at a finely cut crystal sparkle in the sun. From every angle you examine it, it's moving and changing, and from every angle in sparkles. Wow that's really cheesy.

In the past few months Fitzgerald had been coming up more and more in my life. He was mentioned in t.v. shows I was watching, or in web articles I was reading. I learned that he lived in the same town my boyfriend is from, Westport Connecticut, and that Ginerva King (the woman he based Daisy on) is from a town next to mine. When I got to school I learned he is buried in the town where my roommate lives. It seemed like there were all these threads connecting me to his life, and I decided it was time to pick up another one of his books.

When starting Flappers & Philosophers, I looked upon Fitzgerald as a sort of elusive genius writing long ago and far away about very human things. By the end, I saw him more as someone who knew the same people I did, had the same responsibilities, and shared the same idealism that I think I hold someplace deep and unvarnished in my heart. He was still a genius, but not as elusive. F. Scott Fitzgerald was only 25 when Flappers & Philosophers was published. Most of the stories aren't about the hardships of marriage or middle age, they're about college age kids getting their shit together. To put it more plainly, I found that I could really relate
The book itself was in terrible condition. It was the only one my school library had, and it was a first edition from 1920. The book was falling apart from the binding and had been taped together several times. You could barely make out the faintly engraved title and author on the cover. I love books with character. I had to be so careful reading it so that it didn't fall apart, but it was definitely worth it to see such an amazing old version of it.

It's very hard for me to pick a favorite story, but it might be 'Bernice Bobs her Hair'. I find that with most of them it's not the plot that sticks out, but the characters. My friend Lily says I'm a 'Character Whore', and I have to admit that's probably true. I love his young, bored, courageous heroines. They're the exactly the type of girls I'd like to know or like to be. I think it's amazing in 'Bernice Bobs her Hair' how accurately he captures relations between the two girls. His writing is all so much softer and more romantic than Hemingway's. I see them as so different, It's hard for me to believe the two of them were really that close. I guess they had alcohol in common.

I watched this documentary about him on youtube. His life is so beautiful and tragic, and so is his relationship with Zelda. I definitely plan to read another book by him before the end of the year, perhaps 'This Side of Paradise'.


  1. Cool blog! I love The Great Gatsby.

  2. The Great Gatsby was my favourite book in grade eleven! It is so beautiful, but it's the kind of beauty that makes me sad and happy at the same time and I haven't read it in a while. I've read Bernice Bobs Her Hair before too, but I think it was in a different anthology - a really great story though, too!