This Side of Paradise

Hello! Happy Sunday!

I don’t know about you, but Sundays are a delicate balance of getting stuff done and laziness for me. Maybe that’s because Sundays are the only full day I have off each week, so I kinda have to treasure it. So Sundays are used for jigsaw puzzles (like the one of Times Square in the library I was working on last night and this morning) and planning holiday baking and homework. 

Anyways, I realized that I had finished this book a while ago and had forgotten to post a review. It had taken me quite a while to read this book because I had very little time to read it. And here comes the review. 

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Armory Blaine is an upper-class young man who grew up in the northeast with his mother, Beatrice. He successively goes from boarding school to Princeton, and basically has a lot of young people shenanigans along the way. Meanwhile, the cast of friends and minor characters in his life (and they are very minor considering his self-congratulatory nature) cycle in and out, and Armory makes his way along the eternal ‘quest to find himself’ that young people most often embark on when they leave home. 

This was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first book, first novel. This made him a huge success when it was published first in 1920. It made him a giant success, brought about the road to fame for him and Zelda (who he married right after the publication) and planted the seed for the idea that they were the “It Couple” of the 1920s. 

I would say this book was a really interesting comparison and connection book. It may be weird to read his later work like The Great Gatsby first like I did, but it worked out okay. I like Gatsby so much better, but it can be fascinating to see how Fitzgerald’s style changes between the two, in even that five-year period (Gatsby was published in 1925). Examples include the fact that he didn’t use the same rambling plot that This Side of Paradise has, although some of the tone is similar, and some of the ways that the characters react and interact are similar too. I can also draw similarities to another coming-of-age book written twenty years later, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

I give this book three and a half stars. It has some really great quotes tucked inside (I didn’t get to underline and pull them out since it was a library copy), and the ideas of it are good. However, it can be a bit drawn out, some of the minor characters can get confusing, and Armory’s romances started to blend into each other at the end for me. It’s a book to read to be able to reference it, for sure, so I would definitely read it as a contextual reference for other texts. Not the best book I’ve read, and certainly not the worst. 

Anyways, I’m off to do other things, including but not limited to enjoying my Sunday. Have a nice weekend and a wonderful week ahead!

Nicole

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