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This Side of Paradise (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) [NOOK Book]

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This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble ...

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Overview

This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
 
If the “Roaring Twenties” are remembered as the era of“flaming youth,” it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who lit the fire. His semi-autobiographical first novel, This Side of Paradise, became an instant best-seller and established an image of seemingly carefree, party-mad young men and women out to create a new morality for a new, post-war America. It traces the early life of Amory Blaine from the end of prep school through Princeton to the start of an uncertain career in New York City.

Alternately self-confident and self-effacing, torn between ambition and idleness, the self-absorbed, immature Amory yearns to run with Princeton’s rich, fast crowd and become one of the “gods” of the campus. Hopelessly romantic, he learns about love and sex from a series of beautiful young “flappers,” women who leave him both exhilarated and devastated. Fitzgerald describes it all in intensely lyrical prose that fills the novel with a heartbreaking sense of longing, as Amory comes to understand that the sweet-scented springtime of his life is fragile and fleeting, disappearing into memory even as he reaches for it.
 

Sharon G. Carson is Professor Emerita in the English Department at Kent State University, where she has taught for thirty-five years. She is the author of numerous articles and essays on modern and contemporary fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411433274
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 124,417
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Sharon G. Carson is Professor Emerita in the English Department at Kent State University, where she has taught for thirty-five years. She is the author of numerous articles and essays on modern and contemporary fiction.


Biography

The greatest writers often function in multifaceted ways, serving as both emblems of their age and crafters of timeless myth. F. Scott Fitzgerald surely fits this description. His work was an undeniable product of the so-called Jazz Age of the 1920s, yet it has a quality that spans time, reaching backward into gothic decadence and forward into the future of a rapidly decaying America. Through five novels, six short story collections, and one collection of autobiographical pieces, Fitzgerald chronicled a precise point in post-WWI America, yet his writing resonates just as boldly today as it did nearly a century ago.

Fitzgerald's work was chiefly driven by the disintegration of America following World War I. He believed the country to be sinking into a cynical, Godless, depraved morass. He was never reluctant to voice criticism of America's growing legions of idle rich. Recreating a heated confrontation with Ernest Hemingway in a short story called "The Rich Boy," Fitzgerald wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

The preceding quote may sum Fitzgerald's philosophy more completely than any other, yet he also hypocritically embodied much of what he claimed to loathe. Fitzgerald spent money freely, threw lavish parties, drank beyond excess, and globe-trotted with his glamorous but deeply troubled wife Zelda. Still, in novel after novel, he sought to expose the great chasm that divided the haves from the have-nots and the hollowness of wealth. In This Side of Paradise (1920) he cynically follows opulent, handsome Amory Blaine as he bounces aimlessly from Princeton to the military to an uncertain, meaningless future. In The Beautiful and the Damned (1922) Fitzgerald paints a withering portrait of a seemingly idyllic marriage between a pair of socialites that crumbles in the face of Adam Patch's empty pursuit of profit and the fading beauty of his vane wife Gloria.

The richest example of Fitzgerald's disdain for the upper class arrived three years later. The Great Gatsby is an undoubted American classic, recounting naïve Nick Carraway's involvement with a coterie of affluent Long Islanders, and his ultimate rejection of them when their casual decadence leads only to internal back-stabbing and murder. Nick is fascinated by the mysterious Jay Gatsby, who had made the fatal mistake of stepping outside of his lower class status to pursue the lovely but self-centered Daisy Buchanan.

In The Great Gatsby, all elements of Fitzgerald's skills coalesced to create a narrative that is both highly readable and subtly complex. His prose is imbued with elegant lyricism and hard-hitting realism. "It is humor, irony, ribaldry, pathos and loveliness," Edwin C. Clark wrote of the book in the New York Times upon its 1925 publication. "A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today. It takes a deeper cut at life than hitherto has been essayed by Mr. Fitzgerald."

Gatsby is widely considered to be Fitzgerald's masterpiece and among the very greatest of all American literature. It is the ultimate summation of his contempt for the Jazz-Age with which he is so closely associated. Gatsby is also one of the clearest and saddest reflections of his own destructive relationship with Zelda, which would so greatly influence the mass of his work.

Fitzgerald only managed to complete one more novel -- Tender is the Night -- before his untimely death in 1940. An unfinished expose of the Hollywood studio system titled The Love of the Last Tycoon would be published a year later. Still The Great Gatsby remains his quintessential novel. It has been a fixture of essential reading lists for decades and continues to remain an influential work begging to be revisited. It has been produced for the big screen three times and was the subject of a movie for television starring Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino, and Paul Rudd as recently as 2000. Never a mere product of a bygone age, F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest work continues to evade time.

Good To Know

In 1937, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood to pursue a screenwriting career. He only completed a single screenplay Three Comrades during this time before being fired for his excessive drinking.

He held a very romantic view of Princeton before attending the university in 1913. However, his failure to maintain adequate grades or become the football star he dreamed to be lead to an early end to his studies in 1917.

Fitzgerald owes a his name to another famous American writer. He was named after Francis Scott Key, the composer of "The Star Spangled Banner," who also happened to be a distant relative of Fitzgerald's.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 24, 1896
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Death:
      December 21, 1940

Read an Excerpt

From Sharon Carson’s Introduction to This Side of Paradise

 

            With the soul of a poet, the ear of a musician, and a psyche inextricably intertwined with that of his culture, F. Scott Fitzgerald was perhaps the last true voice of the romantic American spirit. And in all instances, he sought beyond the constraints of cultural mores and literary conventions to create a body of work that bespeaks its ethos. This Side of Paradise 1920 was Fitzgerald’s first novel, the work that made him the voice of post–World War I America, “the Jazz Age.” The Jazz Age was not just a drastic change in the culture; it was a new dimension in consciousness. During the 1910s and 1920s America underwent a massive paradigm shift, a transition from an era of smug Victorian conformity and certainty to one of confusion and ambiguity called “modernism.” World War I had accelerated the velocity of this change, and Fitzgerald expresses this transition in attitudes early in his 1917 play The Debutante when flapper Helen Halcyon with her cigarettes and silver flask is asked by her father if she is ready to fit into the wide, wide world, and she replies, “No daddy, just taking a more licensed view of it.” The typical 1920’s flapper, Helen doesn’t want to “fit in” to the rigid roles prescribed for her by the Victorian world, but to live a more independent lifestyle based on her own desires, and to experience greater social and sexual freedom. Her disdain for convention is a symptom of the shifting cultural mores of the Jazz Age.

It is ironic that Fitzgerald’s first novel is the one for which he achieved the most acclaim, praise from which he never recovered. Perhaps its reception was the result of the novel’s sense of anticipation for the age to come. Written between 1917 and 1919 and published on March 26, 1920, This Side of Paradise actually preceded the Jazz Age, an era that Fitzgerald claimed lasted from May Day 1919 to October 1929, when the stock market crashed. Yet the novel is a sensitive barometer of the shifting social climate. Brian Way remarks that “all Fitzgerald’s best writing as a historian of manners is retrospective,” and even though The Great Gatsby 1925 and Tender Is the Night 1934 both look back on previous summers and previous years, “for a short time at the beginning of his career, Fitzgerald anticipated social change . . . he achieved the kind of popularity which depends upon a writer’s being fractionally ahead of his time” Way, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Art of Social Fiction, p. 62; see “For Further Reading”.

This Side of Paradise might have been ahead of its time partly because it examines and rejects the romantic idealism of the Victorian past and reluctantly embraces the troubling uncertainties of the future. It reveals an American culture that is economically on the ascendant but that is psychically ambivalent. World War I had finally ended in November 1918, and the “war to end all wars” had given the nation a euphoric sense of its own power. The stock market was booming, and thousands were getting rich overnight. Many felt the United States had emerged from the war relatively unscathed, having suffered fewer deaths than France, Germany, or Great Britain, and that it was now the greatest nation on earth. But at the same time Americans were troubled by a sense of unease: The trenches in France had demonstrated the brutality of war, and death was on a scale so massive it was incomprehensible. How had the culture, indeed the whole world order, failed so cataclysmically? The war had created a tectonic shift in human consciousness. Paul Fussell comments in The Great War and Modern Memory on the change that occurred between the start of the war in 1914 and its end in 1918: “Out of the world of summer 1914, marched a unique generation. It believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology. The word machine was not yet coupled with the word gun” Fussell, p. 24. The savage and absurd deaths of 10 million were a result of this new technology of killing, which introduced the “civilized” nations to artillery, air power, poison gas, and unprecedented civilian casualties. Ezra Pound decried the chaos of the war in his poem “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” 1920: “There died a myriad, . . . For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization,” and T. S. Eliot wrote that the stable world view of the nineteenth century could not accord with “the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.”

Much like the rebellious youth of the 1960s during the Vietnam War, the young people of the 1920s questioned the absurdity of this “Great War,” the value system of a civilization that had created it, and the beliefs of their elders who had supported it. Many of them rejected what they regarded as a pretentious, hypocritical, and outmoded lifestyle and began to live for the moment. The “new women” of the post-war period began smoking and drinking in public, applying rouge, wearing shorter skirts, and speaking their minds. They were becoming more numerous in the post-war workforce, were gaining economic independence, and by 1920 would get the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. No longer the proper Victorian maid with her beau and her chaperone in the tearoom, the new woman was now “the flapper” and “the slicker” in the “speakeasy,” sans chaperone. Meanwhile, a sense of hedonistic revelry infected the ballrooms and nightclubs, where dances like the Charleston and the Black Bottom replaced the more sedate and conventional waltzes. Jazz music was popular and was becoming even more so by way of the Graphophone an early phonograph and the radio, early accompaniments to what Fitzgerald would call “the gaudiest spree in history.” Appalled by the uninhibited carousing, reactionaries mandated prohibition in early 1920 with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment but were met with a populace drinking all the more, even if it was bootlegged liquor or grain alcohol. As Matthew J. Bruccoli notes, “Drinking increased among people for whom defying the bluenose Prohibitionists was a gesture of intellectual respectability” Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, p. 131.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 182 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 11, 2010

    This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    How presumptious of me to write a review of F.Scott Fitzgerald but in truth I think he would understand. Set in privileged, clueless ,dream-state Ivy League twenties America, Amory Blaine goes about his business of "let's pretend we really are intellectuals and see if we can squeeze a life out of that". Because Fitzgerald got me mad and maybe a little embarrassed too,(I was a college kid once)I realized,"This guy got it right and wrote it right too.." Hemingway might have shared my reaction to this novel and who knows, may have seen it as the basis for the famous exchange between himself and Fitzgerald;Fitzgerald,"The rich and the poor are different."
    Hemingway,"Yes,the rich have more money."
    That's how I concluded as well,self delusions are poison to a full true life, And they can hurt people and nations. Fitgerald was a master and did get it right,even if I didn't like his characters and their values,he got it right,and wrote it brilliantly.
    But thats only round one,this a fight,and far from over.Amory Blaine; his generation,dubbed"Le enfants purdue",(the lost generation),has lost,like his personal Catholic faith, all "the ornaments on the tree"but the tree lives,he wants the tree,wants to live,wants to change,wants to change the world.He teeters on the edge of socialism,"Every boy should have an equal start,not be falsely bolstered by money,or those hideous boarding schools,dragged through college."As had in fact ,Amory.
    He decries the shallowness of that education,goes on to say,and I paraphrase loosely,"I got an education despite having gone to college."
    Fitgerald can be frighteningly,poetically fierce.In a scene in a graveyard by Princeton, his alma mater,Amory is contemplating nature,Hamlet-like,he touches a vine growing on vault,"covered with late blooming,weepy,watery blue flowers that might have grown from dead eyes,sticky to the touch with a sickening odor."
    The exchange ,in a scene where Amory ,enduring hard personal changes in fortune, is offered a lift in a limo,and holds forth on the need for social change,is less poetic but not less powerful. Flappers aside,roaring twenties aside,this book is responsible,it lives,just as Amory wanted for himself finally.You know,I have to say it,"it was an education,really." And by a master.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    Confusing, but impossible to put down

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    A Classic

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    A Forgotten Classic...

    This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald In F. Scott Fitzgerald¡¯s first and semi-autobiographical novel, This Side of Paradise, he portrays the eccentric coming of age of Amory Blaine. Fitzgerald reveals his personal life struggles through Amory. Because of this, the reader is exposed to intense and honest prose regarding each of Amory¡¯s situations. His internal desire for pretentious social hierarchy and his external displays of idleness and hubris close many doors that would otherwise have been open. This struggle, lined with the excitement racy youth and post-war extravagance bring with it, embodies This Side of Paradise and makes it a must- read classic. F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 24, 1896. He enrolled in Princeton, but was unable to graduate due to joining the army. He started his first novel, This Side of Paradise, while stationed at a Kansas military camp. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre and together they raised their only child, Scottie. Fitzgerald and wife Zelda were said to have been attracted to and active in the New York aristocratic social scene. After publishing The Beautiful and Dammed in 1922- and The Great Gatsby in 1925, Fitzgerald suffered from alcoholism, and Zelda was institutionalized due to her emotional breakdowns. Fitzgerald worked in Hollywood as a scriptwriter before he died on December 21, 1940 of a heart attack. This book, although not as highly revered as The Great Gatsby, remains amongst a very short list of great American classics- and with reason. It is a beautifully executed, honest projection of an era that is otherwise filled with illusion and policy. This Side of Paradise holds within its bind a history lesson far deeper than that found in any text book. Fitzgerald elegantly and vividly portrays the young idealism of the ¡°Flapper age.¡± Fitzgerald writes, ¡°Ten o¡¯clock found them penniless. They had suffered greatly on their last eleven cents and, singing, strolled up through the casinos and lighted arches on the boardwalk, stopping to listen approvingly to all bang concerts.¡± Like this small excerpt, the books¡¯ entire diction is bubbled with young hope and exuberance. The experience and emotions Fitzgerald provides to the reader are precise and consistent. It is like the fountain of youth- flooding with the promise of handsomer times. Anyone who reads it is bound to feel a little bit livelier. This book is recommended to all history students, for all the social climbers who wish to empathize or to be empathized with, and to all those who need to be reminded about the purities of youth.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Beautiful Writing

    When it was published someone famously called this book 'the collected writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald' and the wag who made the quip had a point. Still, it is a beautiful and interesting portrait of a priviledged and Romantic child's coming of age. The passages describing Princeton are the most lyrical. This book showed the world the potential Fitzgerald had for lyrical prose and writing fine novels, potential fulfilled in Gatsby and Tender is the Night.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    Perfect title for a near perfect book

    This is an amazing novel that is very selectively worded. Fitzgerald is a master of the written word, and he never wastes a single one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2001

    The Most Interesting Autobiography Ever

    I read the Great Gatsby before This Side of Paradise and find it much more understandable and interesting. Overall, this book is much less confusing and the events are mostly in chronological order from the viewpoint of the protagnist, Amory Blain, instead of a characterized narrator. It's a thoughtful book and displays a whole new perspective on things. The time and society at the time is well presented as the main character experiences the triumphs and setbacks so far in his young life around centered around his own 'superior' ideas and ideals. Fitzgerald flowing and elegant writing give life to this book as it's most suitable to Amory Blain whom he most likely wrote autobiographically. It's interesting to go inside someone's head and explor how they think and perceive the world around them, how their ideas change and evolve, especially a romantic egotist's. The ending's a bit lose but it has impact, making you wish it for more while knowing it cannot be so. A fascinating book, yet tangible, it should be read before Great Gatsby which become more comprehensible after This Side of Paradise.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2014

    Classic

    Yet another masterpiece in the canon of the greatest writer in history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Nice book

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    AHHHH!!!!!!!!!! SCREAM!!!!!!!!! AAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Made You Look.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Love this book 

    Love this book 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    i love f.scott books, what a author

    i love f.scott books, what a author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Test

    Test

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Bad

    Nothing good dont waste your time

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    No thanks

    Too much like reading a history book.

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    Immaturely Written

    This Side of Paradise was Fitzgerald's first book, and it clearly shows. He seems unable to capture human emotions realistically. When he does, Fitzgerald is melodramatic. The ending is rushed, and does not fit with the rest of the book. Amory seems to have some revelation about his life, though there is nothing in the previous chapters that would contribute to this revelation. Fitzgerald merely tries to make sense of a nonsensical book. I read this for a high school class, and found it not quite up to par with some of his other works, such as The Beautiful and The Damned, The Great Gatsby, or even Tender is the Night

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    Only read if you must!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I didn't feel this book captured my attention nor did I like it. I could and have read much better. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2002

    A Great Book

    I was a little skeptical at first about how this book would compare to the 'Great Gatsby'. The Great Gatsby was an excellent book, but I think this book is even better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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