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.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Like most people I read this book in High School but did not remember much of it. Fitzgerald's ability to set a scene, his descriptive passages, the command of word choices is unparalleled. The core of the book is the elaborate infatuation Jay Gatsby has for Daisy Buchanan. The broader context of the setting is the irreconcilable nature of the American dream in the 1920's that gives the novel it's ability to capture the essence of an era. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job narrating the story. It is easy to see why this book is considered a classic of American literature. Glad I decided to re-read the story.
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've read the novel and it has always been one of my favorite classics, but I was bored to death by the reading. I listen to lots of audiobooks and this one could not keep my attention. The reading just seemed flat to me. I couldn't finish it.
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.
Enchanting story told well.
Gyllenhaal's performance is enthralling. It draws you in. He changes his voice for each character, and doesn't sound ridiculous as the female characters. Fantastic!
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.
I have much enjoyed Gyllenhaal's film performances and he's certainly someone I keep an eye on for movies I would enjoy. That being said I think he was sadly miscast as the Nick Caraway narrator. Gyllenhaal just isn't a period piece sort of guy. He's modern in every way, voice, inflection, tone, accent, and just not believable as a young man of the post-WWI era. Caraway is educated, sophisticated, knowledgeable. He may not have the ready wealth of the crowd he runs with, but he's certainly not out of place or uncomfortable in such "elevated" surroundings. He recognizes the trappings of large amounts of money as exactly that--trappings. It's the people and their characters which preoccupy him, not their stuff. The rube in the palace, in spite of his wealth and experience, is Gatsby himself. His money and its purchasing power is far too new for him to be taking it for granted. And this childlike enjoyment and appreciation is part of Gatsby's charm for Nick. Gyllenhaal's most successful characterization is Tom Buchanon, the boorish, foolish, philandering husband of Nick's cousin Daisy. Fitzgerald paints him in broad strokes, not quite a parody of the ex-jock, he's too destructive, too powerful to laugh at, but Tom is the modern one that Gyllenhaal "gets."
Fitzgerald's "voice" is easily recognizable and distinct from other early 20th century writers. Great Gatsby fans would love his other novels and short stories. He's poetic, but never obscure and sometimes humorous. An easy read with intense themes.
Gyllenhaal is not a natural narrator, but he has a pleasant baritone and would probably improve if he continues in this work. The first chapter contained two stand-out mistakes in pronounciation: the word claret mispronounced as "klar-ay," rather than "klar-it," and the word settee mispronounced as "set-tay," rather than "sett-ee." Neither word is of French derivation, which I am assuming was Gyllenhaal's assumption. (Both words come from English and have a standard English pronounciation.) It's not so surprising that a young American actor doesn't have these words in his lexicon. What is surprising is that no one on the production/direction side of this recording caught the mistakes. Doesn't anyone "literary" audit these recordings before they're released? Now there's a plan.
In spite of my issues with this recording, I did not feel my money wasted. I got it at a very good price. Fans of Jake Gyllenhaal of the he-can't-put-a-foot-wrong stripe will love this.
The audio quality of this recording is very, very good.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
Regardless of whether this was a recent movie with Leonard DeCaprio or an audio book narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, this an an all time classic. The writing is impeccable, with each paragraph and page expertly crafted. Although I loved the Audible version, this is a book that should be read, not listened to or watched on the big screen. It's a rather short book that exemplifies the power of the written word.
What I like best is my memory of reading this book in high school. What I liked least? Jake G.'s reading. Mon.o.tone. Geeze louise, put some pep into it.
Probably not. Not having much luck in revisiting the classics.
He read in a boring monotone. I'm not quite sure why he felt like he had to read it like he did. Not much energy.
I stopped listening.