Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
There's good news and bad news.
First the good news: As expected, Fitzgerald writes beautifully and has clearly communicated the decadent and dissolute atmosphere of the time and people of whom he writes.
The bad news: I just didn't like any of the people of whom he writes. Reviewer Melinda has cheerfully offered a 21st century version of Gatsby, and I totally agree with her "then vs now" comparison. Fitzgerald's characters have the depth of the Kardashians and the moral compass of Lindsey Lohan. Gatsby himself is little more than a celebrity worshipping groupie trying to sell himself as one of the beautiful people in his effort to make his delusional fantasy of love and riches with Daisy come true. I found nothing authentic or admirable about any of the supposed loves, as every one of them is self-serving at the core. The single honorable act was Gatsby trying to protect Daisy, but even that reveals a basic contempt for another person's life. Nothing "Great" in that.
I know this is a classic. I acknowledge Fitzgerald's use of words. As a reflection of the "lost generation" of which he was a key member, this is a literary reality show. I just didn't enjoy the show very much.
This is a classic American novel that I can't believe I hadn't read earlier. Having just finished it, I can see why it is a classic. Great story that made me feel like I was living the lifestyle of the 1920s that the author described so vividly. Jake Gyllenhall did a fabulous job narrating and the tone and cadence of his voice made me want more and more. My only regreat was that I finished it too quickly.
I vaguely remember grinding through reading this book in high school. With the new movie coming out and knowing that is one of the great classic American novels, I wanted to give it another chance. This time the experience was so much different and better in every way. The story was fascinating and crisp and the prose was wonderful.
I won't really review the novel itself since it is a classic and held in the highest regard. I will say that Gyllenhaal did an outstanding job with the narration -- one of the best I've ever heard. The only disappointing thing was learning that this is the only book he has narrated on Audible.
If you are at all curious about this book, I can't imagine a better way to experience it than this.
With a 4 1/2 hour commute to work, it's not hard for me to find time to listen to a good audiobook.
I must say that I gave tried to give this audiobook a fair chance that I didn't do to the book when it was required reading in Mrs. Hobbs 11th grade English class 20 years ago. Jake Gyllenhaal was a very pleasant surprise as I thought him narrating a classic was more of a gimmick than anything. But he was extremely good with varying his tone, inflections, and giving life to the story that just didn't resonate with my interests. So, that is why my people may feel that I am off of my rocker for not liking the story, The Great Gatsby. But the storyline and writing style did not pull me in like many of my favorite books in the mystery, thriller, and business genres.
The mastery of literary devices that make F. Scott Fitzgerald an icon and The Great Gatsby an American classic are lost on me. I have conditioned myself to enjoy the drama of Grisham and Baldacci, the thrill of Patterson and Ludlum, and the wit of Fey and Halpern.
I don't think it was a waste of a credit by any means. It was well worth trying out this classic given it was not a very long audiobook. But be warned, if you didn't enjoy The Great Gatsby when it was required reading in high school, you may not fall head over heels with this rendition. However, I am glad that I listened to it so I can speak with intelligence and authority when I critique Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio when the movie is released later this spring.
Jake Gyllenhaal's vocal quality is perfectly adequate to convey Nick's story, but unfortunately there are several passages that are read incorrectly (i.e., with emphasis on the wrong words or phrases) and presumably the director didn't call these out because Jake Gyllenhaal is a BIG STAR. I am compelled to recommend the late great Frank Muller's narration over this one.
We all read this book in high school, and so we all take its meaning and depth for granted...until we read it again with more age under our belts! The nuanced, poetic writing of Fitzgerald just seemed to mean so much more to me at age 36 than 16. I can better appreciate the angst and mourning of decay in the 1920s because it's so similar to the feeling of loss and decay that we experience now with the end of one era and beginning of another. Fitzgerald's writing comes alive with Jake as the reader. he does a beautiful job, and it's no wonder he is such a successful actor: Because he is good!
What I love about this story is that we can all find ourselves in Gatsby. We are all weak. We all have experienced love and loss. We all have trouble letting go. We all desire something more, beyond what we have, and we all must fall and die at some point. The themes in this book are universal and true, and Fitzgerald is a master at giving us this enigmatic, elusive character who ends up being a weak boy in yearning for love with Jay Gatsby.
Jake's reading voice is so understated. He does a great job at Tom Buchanan's rough and tumble voice. I love the vulnerability he shows when George Wilson mourns the loss of his wife, and he says "Oh, god, Oh, god," over and over. I really do believe it with Jake reading the novel. This was an excellent audio book.
Towards the end, when Nick describes his cousin Daisy and Tom Buchanan as being careless people who smash things up and then retreat to their money, and how Nick is really a Westerner (Midwesterner) and how he felt he never quite belonged with the people of the East was just lovely. It made me feel so much more compassion for Gatsby at this point in the novel.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
Had read Gatsby in high school and listened to Tim Robbins' narration but wanted to celebrate the book with Gyllenhaal's narration before the movie came out and of course it didn't disappoint. The voice didn't sound like Jake Gyllenhaal to me but it was still really good.
Books are the best
I would change the decade that this book was written. As much as I try, it's hard for me to enjoy such old American literature. I guess I need a class for context so I can enjoy it. TOO LATE.
I have not. And I probably won't. If I didn't care for this, I don't think I'd like anything else.
Despite the content, he has a lovely voice. Not my most favorite voice, but he read well and made it at least a little bit compelling.
Yes, it made me listen to it as fast as possible so I could listen to something else.
Not much except context makes everything better. I'll live without it though.
A freelance screenwriter with two feature length screenplays to date and one short...I am also an avid reader.
In the top ten
Jake's narration; a good actor can really make a story come alive. I wondered if he had aspired to the movie role..he would have been wonderful, I'm sure.
Nick, of course, the narrator.
I loved the language, the ethereal words of Fitzgerald.
I downloaded The Great Gatsby after seeing the movie. I was interested at how much the movie followed the actual book. I did enjoy the movie and have recommended it to friends, the book is so much better that I would recommend it even more so.