Title: This Side of Paradise
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Source: Personal library
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge
First Sentence: "Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while."
Summary (From Goodreads):
In this remarkable achievement, F. Scott Fitzgerald displays his unparalleled wit and keen social insight in his portrayal of college life through the struggles and doubts of Amory Blaine, a self-proclaimed genius with a love of knowledge and a penchant for the romantic. As Amory journeys into adulthood and leaves the aristocratic egotism of his youth behind, he becomes painfully aware of his lost innocence and the new sense of responsibility and regret that has taken its place.
My Two Cents:
Oh, F. Scott Fitzgerald, you never disappoint me.
While this book is not as elegant or rich as my all-time-favorite The Great Gatsby (This was Fitzgerald's first book, after all, and it was written to impress Zelda), it still has a lot of the classic Fitzgerald trademarks which make his writing so fabulous. There's a lot of class and social criticism in here, especially when Amory is at Yale. Fitzgerald has a gift for making fun of those with whom he associated, and the jokes are still funny 90 years later.
I vacillated between liking and not liking Amory throughout the book, but I mostly thought he was a great character. He becomes much more likable as he begins to shed some of the pretensions of his youth and wealth. I couldn't wait to see what he did next, because he was always surprising me.
This book isn't for everyone, and it's not even for every fan of 1920s-era American literature. You have to be in the right mood to read this or else all the fun could be lost on you.