Book blog

1000 before 30 #15: The beautiful and the damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s a tragedy when a young life is wasted – but it’s hard to feel sorry for Fitzgerald’s self-deluded, spoiled couple.

What happens to a superficial and narcissistic couple when all their money runs out? This looks set to be the main aim in Fitzgerald’s narrative about a petty, frustrated writer (Anthony Patch) who married a beautiful yet terrible flirt (Gloria).

Of course, before they get married there is that debate on whether he will dedicate himself to his career, but soon all hopes are abandoned as he spends all his time and money cavorting arouns, having parties and going to the theatre. At one point, after the couple decides to trivially rent a house in the middle of the countryside that they subsequently loathe, they run out of money completely yet seem incapable of stopping themselves from spending it.

The man’s puritan grandfather is portrayed as somewhat of a miser whose only function is to die and allow the couple to inherit his money. Unfortunately for them, luck runs out when he catches them in the midst of a raucous party and decides to give his money to charity. That’s life (or greed) for you.

I’ll be honest – when I put this book down I understood why it had taken me so long to try and read Fitzgerald. The fact that this novel is meant to be based on his relationship with Zelda Fitzgerald makes this possible worse. His petty, nonsensical characters frustrate and bemuse me despite his brilliant writing. Or perhaps that was his point all along?

This review is part of my 1000 books before 30 challenge. Find out more about it here.

Featured image: Creative commons picture by Mobilus in Mobili

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