Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just Jennifer

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan (Little, Brown and Company, September 2014)

A must read for any Gatsby fan, the NPR Fresh Air book critic demonstrates the staying power and continuous appeal of a book many of us read in high school and offers a compelling argument as to why Gatsby should be read over and over at different stages of our life especially as most people read Gatsby for the first time as a high school student.  Corrigan submits that many first time readers of Gatsby view it as a tragic lover story when it is so much more than that: social and political commentary, a nostalgic longing for the past, coupled with a dash of hard-boiled crime.  Corrigan delves into Gatsby’s reception in 1925 (slow to catch on) and traces its trail to part of the modern American cannon in the 1960’s.  Corrigan’s enthusiasm for the book is palpable; as she makes each new point, you can almost see her excitedly teaching this in a classroom or talking with a friend over coffee.  Corrigan not only reignites a reader’s enthusiasm for Gatsby but may spark something to go back and take a look at another fondly or not so fondly, remembered classic from our school days.  With bright, fresh prose that is never pedantic, Maureen Corrigan shares her love for a book about which many of us say “oh yeah, I read that in high school” but about which we may remember, or know, so little.

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