I have never liked American classic novels. I always dreaded reading them in my English classes. To Kill a Mockingbird? More like the way to kill my joy of reading. It was nearing the deadline for our semester reading assignment, and I had one book left to read, so I picked the shortest one I possibly could. I could read The Great Gatsby within the weekend--the only problem being it was another dreadful “American Classic”. Although at the time I would have rather read Green Eggs and Ham to my baby cousin 47 times than read The Great Gatsby, I decided to suffer through a mere 180 pages, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The story is set in the mid 1920s, a time of prohibition and success. Nick Carraway, a want-to-be writer but actual bonds salesman, moves to a small house in Long Island wedged between the mansions belonging to New York’s newly rich. Soon after moving, Nick gets an invite to a party by his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Nick attends the party, not knowing what to expect. He finds a grand party, but when asking everyone where to find Gatsby, no one could tell him anything but rumours about Gatsby. He also realized he was the only person at the party with an invitation. Finally finding the real Gatsby, Gatsby introduces himself and invites Nick to go hydroplaning with him the next day. Gatsby invites Nick to several more events with him and Nick attends more of Gatsby’s extravagant, full-weekend parties, but Nick is still curious as to why Gatsby is doing all of these things for Nick. While taking his friend Jordan out to eat, Nick finally learns the reason Gatsby keeps engaging with Nick; Gatsby was in love with Nick’s cousin, Daisy, and had been in loved with her for five years. Gatsby wanted Nick to invite her over for tea so he could casually stroll in to see her again. There was only one flaw in the plan--Daisy had been married for two years now to a different man, but her husband had been having an affair with another woman. After a brief inner conflict, Nick decides to to Gatsby a solid and invite Daisy over. While things go well for Daisy and Gatsby at tea, as the story unravels and true feelings are revealed, changing the nature of everyone’s relationships forever.
Although this may seem like another sub-par romance novel, this is no John Green or Sarah Dessen book, ladies and gentlemen. The Great Gatsby is an American classic centered around the human’s need for hope in live. Without hope, humans have no way of getting through the hardships in life. Some would say Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy is a bit creepy because he never loses hope that she will end up with him and continues to do everything he can in life to get her back, but the way he perseveres in trying spend the rest of his life with Daisy will keep you turning the pages faster than you can read the words on them.
I had never understood the hype about the classics in American literature. They all seemed to be books about nothing that went on forever, but The Great Gatsby managed to change my mind. This book will toy with your emotions on each page, whether it be making you smile on one or making you cry on the next. Now I understand the reason the Great Gatsby is a classic and has been critically acclaimed for generations. While it may seem outdated, the Great Gatsby will convince you to remain hopeful no matter how bad a situation may seem, making it a truly great book.
Alaina Agnello is a junior at Novi High School. She is involved in two competitive dance teams and loves to read in her free time. She aspires to attend Michigan State University to study Journalism.