THIS SIDE OF PARADISE (POST WORLD WAR I AMERICA)

THIS SIDE OF PARADISE (POST WORLD WAR I AMERICA)

3.3 162
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
     
 

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THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.... IS TRULY A STORY OF VANITY! 235 PAGES IN PRINT!

Wealthy and attractive Princeton student Amory Blaine dabbles in literature and romance, and becomes disillusioned by the greed and social climbing of post-World War I American youth.

The Ivy League of Fitzgerald's indifferent hero, Amory Blaine, is a thing of the past, with

Overview

THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.... IS TRULY A STORY OF VANITY! 235 PAGES IN PRINT!

Wealthy and attractive Princeton student Amory Blaine dabbles in literature and romance, and becomes disillusioned by the greed and social climbing of post-World War I American youth.

The Ivy League of Fitzgerald's indifferent hero, Amory Blaine, is a thing of the past, with only the faintest reminders of its aura of American royalty remaining today. Reading about Amory's days at Princeton is a bit like looking at the ancient photographs of 19th century football teams that every university seems to have on display in some corner of the campus, with the added twist that most of those long-ago jocks were presumably the sons of bankers and senators. And yet, Fitzgerald's depiction of a whirlwind of exhilaration, alienation, eagerness for the future and a sense that it should all be more meaningful is still all too recognizable to those of us who are just a few years out of college. So like all the best fiction, the story works both on a historical and a contemporary level.
Amory isn't the most sympathetic of protagonists. Coming from a non-aristocratic but quite cushy background, he's all you would expect from a Fitzgerald hero: full of himself, indifferent to the less fortunate, somewhat lazy, and at once condescending to and inept with women. But this is a story of young adulthood in the last gasps of the pre-World War I upper-crust, and Amory is the perfect vehicle for illustrating the youth of that time and place. Although the relative lack of details provided about Amory's experience in the war is odd, it adds to his Everyman quality for the generations since his, all of which have had their own reasons for a bleak outlook at some point even if few could match the sheer trauma of 1917-18. The one real flaw in the story is an inconsistent, and often unconvincing, quality when it comes to how and why Amory falls for the several women he endures romantic misadventures with. For all the heartbreak he endures, the reader is often left wondering where his attraction stemmed from in the first place - an odd shortcoming considering how good Fitzgerald was at illustrating that issue in later works. But the romantic episodes that do work are vivid enough to forgive the weaker ones. Also, as usual, Fitzgerald's narrative style is somewhat purple; but he's so good at it that it usually doesn't strike the reader as a problem.

Bleak as it may be, this is a great book for anyone who has survived young adulthood and remembers it honestly. Just try not to laugh or cringe next time somebody wants to talk about "the good old days."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012471185
Publisher:
TLC BOOKS
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
788 KB

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This Side of Paradise 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
F. Scott Fitzgerald's "This Side of Paradise" was written in the typical excessive Fitzgerald style, with lots of confusing allusions and very lengthy, wordy descriptions. However, the satisfaction in reading this comes mostly in the voyeuristic, almost "E! True Hollywood Story"-like glimpse into the main character, Amory Blaine's life. The main character was probably the sole thing that kept me interested while reading this - the book made me want to know everything there was to know about Amory, and by the end, I did know everything about him and I wanted him to see the things in himself that I saw in him, thanks to the author's masterful description of him and his personality. I also found myself kind of desperate for Amory to be happy in a relationship for once - I could have sworn that Rosalind was going to work out, but typical of Fitzgerald, like in "The Great Gatsby", nothing happens like we want it to. My favorite part in this book was the entire Rosalind arc, from the mad, passionate love that he shared with her (that never really ammounted to anything by today's standards) to the point where she shot him down and he was crushed - this was probably the one point where I really emotionally connected with the character and felt just as miserable as he was when he lost his love. My least favorite part was in the middle of the story, where it felt like absolutely nothing was happening. I understand that this feeling is probably what Fitzgerald wanted the reader to feel, since this was the point where Amory was in the army for the war that none of the snobbish Princeton boys cared about, including Amory, but still - it felt very dry and boring, and I wanted to skip ahead where I felt sure something exciting was going to happen. Overall, this was a great book. The language is hard to follow at times and there are parts where it gets pretty boring, but all of this is overshadowed by the incredible insight we get into the psychology of the character, his development, and his ultimate dismaying self-realization.
Seghetto More than 1 year ago
This is Fitzgerald's first attempt at novel. Considering that this was written by a 23 year old it is amazing. The middle third or so of the book is written as play, where the main character Amory gets involved with a girl. The main character was very irritating. His time as Princeton was described in brilliant detail though. The plot seems disjointed, but somehow it makes sense. If you are a fan of Fitzgerald this book is highly recommended.
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Yet another masterpiece in the canon of the greatest writer in history.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of the characters in this book are not likable at all, and sometimes I felt no need to finish the book. But not being able to put the it down, I found myself completely intreched in the story and I was really enjoying it. It follows a self-obsorbed boy named Amory from his childhood to his adulthood, and shows how he starts to think of others than himself. Although towards the end, I started to feel that the author wrote the book just to promote atheism and socialism.
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