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20 Reasons The Great Gatsby Is The Best Novel Ever

You guys know I love The Great Gatsby. It’s my favorite novel, and it currently sits #1 out of the 76 novels I’ve read during this project so far.

But I haven’t talked about the novel in a really long time, like two weeks maybe. So I thought I’d break down why Gatsby is so awesome in a fun Friday listicle.

Let’s go! So why is The Great Gatsby the greatest novel ever?

1. Because Daisy’s “voice was full of money,” and that’s such a great character descriptor.

2. Because Gatsby calls everybody “old sport,” and that’s just the perfect, memorable salutation for an old rich guy.

3. Because all the characters are miserable human beings—and what kind of a writer can write such an amazing novel without one likeable character?

4. Because Fitzgerald writes paragraphs like this:

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

5. Because this is the best closing line in literature:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

6. Because Hunter S. Thompson thought The Great Gatsby was so amazing that he sat down and rewrote the whole thing word for word. Why? Just to see what it felt like to “write” a great novel.

7. Because of the green light.

8. Because this classic cover is pretty awesome (I think).

the_great_gatsby_2-1

9. Because Fitzgerald creates a character in Gatsby that, despite his immense wealth and immense misery, is so relatable.

10. Because an 8-bit style online video game was made about the novel, nearly 100 years after it was published.

11. Because the novel is more identifiable with a specific time period—The Roaring 20s—perhaps more than any other novel.

12. Because it’s a dark version of the classic love story. The foundation of the whole story is based on pursuing and rediscovering an old love.

13. Because it represents the fragile, futile pursuit of “The American Dream” better than any other novel. Gatsby has it all, but all of it still isn’t enough.

14. Because the title is subtly ironic. Gatsby isn’t great at all. In fact, he’s just the opposite.

15. Because Tom Buchanan is such a wonderful, douchey bad guy. As much as you dislike the other characters, you dislike Tom even more. That takes effort to write.

16. Because the novel will make you want to drink a mint julep, even if you don’t drink.

17. Because I never have and never will strike a woman, but I kind of want to punch Daisy. Again, that’s all because of Fitzgerald’s talent.

18. Because Fitzgerald’s buttery prose is unlike anything else in literature. In my opinion, no other writer is his equal.

19. Because Leo Dicaprio portrayed Gatsby and if Leo is taking part in your book-turned-movie then it has to be really, really, really good.

20. Because it’s just an awesome novel, and I ran out of things after 19, so I’m just putting this here to make it an even 20.

So there you go.

You won’t get another Gatsby post from me for at least another two weeks.

What do you think? Gatsby worth all the hype I, and many others, give it? Or is it overrated?

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64 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on D.e.e.L's Writing and Various Nonsense.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  2. I am still trying to figure out what the big deal is about that novel and movie 😥

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  3. Sam #

    Agree on every one. Gatsby is an amazing book. I need to give it a re-read soon.

    Thanks for posting.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  4. Not going to argue with you, though I think one *could* and with many other titles. Gatsby is definitely one of the best of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 30, 2015
  5. Jetagain #

    I agree with you that “Gatsby” may be the greatest novel–at least in English (but then there’s “Heart of Darkness….). However I disagree with your reason #2. Gatsby calls people “old sport” not because he’s a rich old guy, but because he THINKS that’s what rich old guys say. He’s new money–and sleazy money at that. He’ll never have the same class as the people he wants to identify with–and most of them–even in the twenties–would never seriously employ the endearment, “old sport”.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
    • Interesting take. I can definitely see that.

      Like

      January 30, 2015
    • You took the words right out of my mind! Gatsby wanted to emulate the people who came from old money, but, of course, we all know his poor background prevented him from being so in truth…

      Like

      February 2, 2015
  6. “Old Sport” conjures up the English Aristocracy, the trick of American new money trying resemble the Old money of the Brits

    I think though, that Redford’s Gatsby is truer to the spirit of Fitzgerald’s creation than De Caprio’s

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  7. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the film adaptation! Gatsby is a great novel. I reread it last year for the first time since high school, and I was pretty stunned by it. It really is an interesting and fascinating meditation.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
    • Love the film. I link to my review in the post above.

      Like

      January 30, 2015
  8. I agree with you wholeheartedly 🙂 I love that book.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  9. I am hanging my head in embarrassment. Here I am at the age of 52 having to admit that I have never ever read “The Great Gatsby”. This post has brought to light that it is time. Before I turn 53 I need to read this book.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  10. I like your analysis and how you presented it. I enjoyed it very much. But I had a completely different experience. Two our of four stars only http://norberthaupt.com/2013/09/01/book-review-the-great-gatsby-by-f-scott-fitzgerald/

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  11. Gatsby is definitely in my top 4.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  12. I love when people know exactly why a book is their all time favourite. Also, #6 is kind of a cool fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 30, 2015
  13. Reblogged this on "There Was A Boy" and commented:
    One of my favorite novels, so naturally, I had to share.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  14. Your list about Gatsby makes me wish I could pick out one novel to stand behind. There are too many good ones. Do you think you’ll ever read one better than Gatsby someday?

    Liked by 1 person

    January 30, 2015
    • It is pretty close to perfect. Only two novels come close for me. The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata and The River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. The endings of The River Runs Through It and The Great Gatsby are two perfect endings. They are up there with last song of the Beatles White Album, “Good Night”. Very few things match those perfections.

      Like

      January 30, 2015
      • I guess I will also have to read The River Runs Through It. 🙂

        Like

        January 30, 2015
    • I seriously doubt it, but I’m open to the idea!

      Like

      February 2, 2015
  15. Wonderful list. I to adore this book. Thank you for adding that paragraph. It is dear to my hear.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  16. penonpapergirl #

    Reblogged this on Love, Eloisa and commented:
    i am wont to agree…

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  17. It was interesting reading your reasons. I hated this book with a passion when i read it at 17/18 years of age for a level English literature. It makes me wonder if it was the constant analysing of the book that made me hate it not the book itself.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  18. geenieknows #

    I love reading posts like this, because it makes me feel relieved that I’m not the only one who gets this passionate about books and films. For me Wuthering Heights is my number one. I really enjoyed that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    January 30, 2015
  19. While Orwell’s clarity is astonishing, no one to my knowledge has combined clarity and lyricism in a way that equals Fitzgerald. Here is another example from the book:

    “About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes — a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.”

    Three sentences, 134 words of clear, smooth and blue sailing and it breaks just about every rule of writer’s ‘advice’ you find online.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
    • So true. That’s a beautiful paragraph.

      Like

      February 2, 2015
  20. I agree with 19 of your 20. I hated Leonardo di Caprio and Baz Luhrmann’s film. And unlike some, it wasn’t the music. I just did not believe that di Caprio was Gatsby and that Tobey Maguire was Nick Carroway. Course none of the versions have really done a good job of putting Gatsby on film. Redford’s version comes closest. One of the reasons Gatsby does not make a great film is because it is a character study.

    To give you 20 Reasons, I would substitute this for #19. it gets better with each reading. I have read it 10 times and I always enjoy the read. I’m thinking I might want to reread it again this year. And thanks for the Hunter S. Thompson info. I might just do that too.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  21. Jay Ong #

    Totally agree with everything! Another point is that Fitzgerald is one of the few (actually, I’ve personally never read anything like this from any other author) who can capture EXACTLY what you’re feeling in a sentence. The Great Gatsby looks like such a thin book which doesn’t really have much in it, but after reading it, you’re just left amazed at just how much Fitzgerald was able to convey because not a single word is wasted.

    I fell in love with this book and with Fitzgerald the first time I read it. 🙂

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  22. i had already watched its movie and I find it so life-changing. i am excited to read its novel. 😀 Thanks for sharing me this.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  23. Reblogged this on My South of No North and commented:
    La mejor, posiblemente; una de mis favoritas, seguro.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  24. I think that I could write a post only talking about of number 7.

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  25. I read it for the first time in high school – just after I’d seen the 1974 film. Despite my youthful passion for Redford, that was when I realised that, for all their splendour, some films just don’t capture the essence of what a book is about. I have re-read it every few years since then, along with my other perennial favourites To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Rings.

    I enjoyed the Baz Luhrmann film, and felt that it was a better rendition than the Redford one. And yes, that green light of unrequited love has haunted me since before I knew what love could be.

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  26. I read it for the first time in December last year. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I absolutely loved it.

    I’m wondering though, does Nick become the new Gatsby after the end of the book?

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  27. I love this book too – I also love The Beautiful and the Damned. If you haven’t read that you should – it’s just as good!

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  28. moosha23 #

    Ah The Great Gatsby. I’ve read it once and I’ve got to say it’s wonderful, but it didn’t leave an impression on me so much so that I think it’s the most amazing thing ever. However there’s still promise! A person I know read the book four times before she fell absolutely in love with The Great Gatsby so there’s that. 🙂

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  29. Alexandra Provost #

    Oh, I really have to read the book! I watched the movie with Leonardo Di Caprio and I loved the story (and yes I hate Daisy!)

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  30. I originally read the book in high school and hated it. I reread it last year and loved it – since I know the book didn’t change, I guess it was me.

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  31. Reblogged this on Beautiful Disasters and commented:
    Here’s a little tribute to one of my favorite books of all time.

    Like

    January 31, 2015
  32. I’m looking forward to read the book 🙂 The Movie was so much more better than other movies of 2013. i loved it!

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  33. OMG! I’m already in love with the book and I’m only on page two! Wow! Reblogging 🙂 and a thumbs up!

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  34. Reblogged this on Princess's Story and commented:
    This was an awesome book review and i think everyone should try this book right now!! 🙂

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  35. How I love this novel. Agree with you on all 19 comments, EXCEPT I too, preferred Redford’s portrayal of Gatsby over Leo’s.

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  36. Reblogged this on your comforts delight my soul.

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  37. Hi! I’ve also nominated you for the Liebster Awards.
    Greetings!

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  38. All great reasons. Also, Gatsby has a pink suit. That takes some real chops.

    Like

    February 1, 2015
  39. Carla Wright #

    Fitzgerald is bae

    Like

    February 2, 2015
  40. Em Winther #

    Reblogged this on Complete Fairytales and commented:
    The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel, and this list is so accurate. *high five*

    Like

    February 2, 2015
  41. “Ceaselessly into the past…”
    Story of my life.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Like

    February 2, 2015
  42. Dear Whoever-is-Behind-this-Awesome-Blog,

    You are my new virtual best friend! I love to read and ‘Gatsby’ is one of my favorites 🙂 .

    Like

    February 2, 2015
  43. Honestly, this is NOT a shameless plug. I don’t sell anything at my WP site (MultiTouchFiction.com). It’s just that this 101books.net blog entry on The Great Gatsby got me thinking and I thought it would be appropriate to share part of my Feb 5th post:

    The Books or Why There are Only Four Rules of Writing

    Books you must have read (and why) before you know how to put words on the page in their proper arrangement:

    The Great Gatsby (1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald) because it just happens to be one of the most beautiful books ever written. No one re-reads The Great Gatsby to find out what happens. No one.

    The Sun Also Rises (1926, Ernest Hemingway) because it’s straight, to the point and utterly devastating. Icebergs dead ahead.

    Huckleberry Finn (1884, Mark Twain) is the greatest ‘Great American Novel’ ever written because a thirteen year old boy explains in a most original and profound way America’s Original Sin.

    1984 (1949, George Orwell) is the quintessential novel of the future written as though it happened yesterday. “Inevitable” is the one word screaming between every line.

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865, Lewis Carroll) just because. . . of all of it. . . and because 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication and we’re still talking about it.

    The Catcher in the Rye (1951, J.D. Salinger) because Holden Caulfield is the most ‘developed’ character in 20th century American literature. In the clarity of the close-up, no one else comes close.

    Now, if you want to know what the Four Rules are….well.

    Like

    February 5, 2015
  44. Gatsby is still one of my least favorite novels. I agree with your statement #s 11-15, but those are not enough reasons to make it for me a great novel. The novels I love are the ones that have characters to whom I can relate, and generally I can’t relate to people or characters who seem to live in their own fantasies, be they pleasant or otherwise. I don’t like Gatsby and I don’t like Anna Karenina for those same reasons.

    Like

    February 5, 2015
  45. Reblogged this on You are exactly where you need to be. and commented:
    And now I want to re-read Gatsby.

    Like

    February 9, 2015
  46. Reblogged this on Eu Vivo a Melhor Idade and commented:
    EU TAMBÉM AINDA AMO!

    Like

    March 28, 2015
  47. kh1789 #

    I couldn’t agree more with #5. That line is so beautiful that I could cry over it.
    However, I disagree with #15. I find myself a bit conflicted when it comes to Tom Buchanan. Of course, I can’t say that he is a likable character–he is violent, selfish (an understatement?, and likely responsible for Gatsby’s death. Nonetheless, I felt a great deal of pity for Tom. When the group takes their drive into the city and asks Daisy if she really never loved him, I sympathized with him. I don’t like Tom Buchanan, but I can’t quite bring myself to hate him or think him evil.

    Like

    June 7, 2015
  48. Did you read “So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures” by Maureen Corrigan? It’s one of the best explanations I’ve read of why I love it—-and I didn’t have to write it!

    Like

    August 21, 2015
  49. Love this! I read The Great Gatsby over the summer and it was one of the most difficult, but still one of the best novels that i have ever read!

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  50. B.R. Reed #

    Makes my top 10 list of best American novels. It seems there is not a wasted sentence in the entire book. Never heard about #6, Hunter was probably whacked on meth. The cover art is R rated. Look closely folks. I also love the last line. However, I certainly do not agree that every character in the book is miserable.

    Like

    September 27, 2016
  51. Maddie #

    I’m reading Gatsby for school and I surprisingly love it. I haven’t liked a school book (aside from Of Mice and Men) through my first few years in high school! If it weren’t for the notes we had to write I’d finish it in a day and then read it again.

    Like

    February 2, 2017
  52. Elizabeth Rakes #

    You are definitely correct. Gatsby is worth the hype. The end of the book always makes me cry. He had no one, except his father and Nick, who came to the funeral because they cared. I was also more angry at Daisy than Tom. She always said that she loved Gatsby, but at the first hint of trouble and darkness in him, all those feelings die away. I personally think she’s crazy and deserves her miserable life. Also, I wish that they had put in at least a little bit of Nick and Jordan’s relationship in the movie. They made it sound as if that had never existed.

    Like

    March 13, 2017
  53. Brooke W #

    I slept on this book until I watched the movie and loved it! But The Great Gatsby novel is a masterpiece and like Elizabeth said, worth the hype!

    Like

    June 4, 2017

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