Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Side of Paradise

Rating: 5/5

Title: This Side of Paradise

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Page Count (Paperback): 276

Official Amazon Description

This Side of Paradise     This Side of Paradise is the book that established F. Scott Fitzgerald as the prophet and golden boy of the newly dawned Jazz Age. Published in 1920, when he was just twenty-three, the novel catapulted him to instant fame and financial success. The story of Amory Blaine, a privileged, aimless, and self-absorbed Princeton student, This Side of Paradise closely reflects Fitzgerald's own experiences as an undergraduate. Amory Blaine's journey from prep school to college to the First World War is an account of "the lost generation." The young "romantic egotist" symbolizes what Fitzgerald so memorably described as "a new generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken." A pastiche of literary styles, this dazzling chronicle of youth remains bitingly relevant decades later.

My Thoughts

     This Side of Paradise can only be described as a literary masterpiece and a brilliant commentary on Fitzgerald's society. Like The Old Curiosity Shop I loved the character development in This Side of Paradise. Though physically the plot followed the life of Amory from his childhood to around his early thirtes or late twenties, Fitgerald also went into great depth about the transition from boy to man that Amory made mentally. I really enjoyed following this progression as he delved deeper and deeper into Amory's inner journey to discover himself. I definitley didn't agree with all of Amory's opinions on the world but in his philosophical musings both within himself and with the other thinkers around him, Amory presented strong arguments to back all of his opinions.

        One of the wonderful things about Fitgerald's focus on the mind in This Side of Paradise was that it got me thinking. Whenever Amory presented one of his well supported opinions, I would have to stop and think about how I felt and why; in every sense of the phrase This Side of Paradise was most certainly thought provoking.

       Beyond the philosophical and thought provoking nature of this work I also extremely enjoyed the wry wit and candid thoughts of Amory. One of my favourite quotes from the novel was,  "Every author ought to write a book as if he were going to be beheaded the day he finished it" (211). I suppose one of the reasons I was so struck by this quote was because I absolutley agreed with the philosophy behind it, so many authors hold back when writing for fear of what people might think,  truly lessening the impact of their work. But if authors wrote as if they were going to be beheaded the day they finished it there would be no need to hold back for fear of society's reaction and in my opinion, there would be a lot more thought provoking and truly great books in the world today.

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  1. I absolutely love the sound of this one, I'm glad you reviewed it. It's nice to see a blog that reviews "older" novels as well. Great review :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages
    (New GFC follower!)

  2. Thanks for following! I agree, a lot of book blogs only focus on one genre of novels which I suppose is alright if you only like one genre but my mind is all over the place when it comes to novels! I review nearly every genre because I like to keep life interesting :)

    ps. On my way to check out your blog now :)


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