Fine, The Great Gatsby isn’t as bad as I remembered


Here’s a fun fact: I grew up about 5 miles away from F. Scott Fitzgerald …’s grave, as he is buried in an otherwise nondescript cemetery in Rockville, Maryland, where I went to high school. Fun Fact #2: I never visited his grave, in part because at the time it seemed creepy but mostly because of Fun Fact #3: For the better part of two decades, I have been quietly scornful of Mr. Fitzgerald, because for the better part of two decades I have assumed that I really really did not like The Great Gatsby.

I suppose it started as one of those things that was mildly and inoffensively true, like maybe I hated having to read The Great Gatsby for school, or maybe I got a bad grade on a quiz about The Great Gatsby, or (most likely) I simply decided to dislike it for the mere accomplishment of being contrarian (I mean come on, is it really the best novel of all time?) But for many years, I told myself — and others; believe me, and others — that I didn’t really care for its rich white people plot, or its vapid characters. I suppose I said it so often (as often as The Great Gatsby comes up in daily life) that it became more of a truism than it ever was originally, like swearing you hate yogurt and then realizing one day that you haven’t actually eaten it in 15 years. Long story short, I owed Gatsby a reread, and I may have been a little (a lot) swayed by the prospect of seeing Leonardo DiCaprio play yet another poor scrappy white guy trying to scam his way to success.

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