I’m a huge fan of good ol’ Scotty, so, it’s no surprise that I gave This Side of Paradise five stars; though this is another case of Goodreads skewing things by not letting us give half-star ratings, it’s like the only thing I don’t like about the site. So, in reality, I’d say 4.5 stars.
Blurb: Fitzgerald tells us the life of the romantic Amory Blaine who grows up with a curious Mother and ambition which runs its course through all the avenues of interest that he finds. We follow him from before he goes to attend school (he does not attend until later on than most children, don’t want to give away spoilers for those who haven’t read it) all the way to his life after Princeton and the War. We watch Amory change and shed many skins and yet retain some of the same qualities throughout it all.
Why not a full five? Because I actually felt unresolved by the ending, which, I mean admittedly is probably the point, that you’re left in the unknown, but not only that, there were times when I found it a bit too repetitive on Amory’s personality. Which when Amory was active, well, Fitzgerald’s writing voice was so clear that you didn’t need the repetition of it.
I actually loved that the reasons why I may have not always liked Amory were because he was made just that human and flawed, and I think some of his flaws were ones I hated because I maybe saw them in myself. Obviously not the part where he thinks he may be an unsung genius, everyone knows I am. Hahahaha….just kidding.
Really though I absolutely adore the way Fitzgerald can just transport you and immerse in his stories with such truly beautiful vocabulary and descriptions. I guarantee this will not be everyone’s cup of tea, even if you’re a Fitzgerald fan but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised if you give it a read. This was his first published novel and yes it does show but…that’s the beauty of it. Reading this and then seeing the difference between it and The Great Gatsby!
Some places might describe this as a bit of a love story or the story of Amory and a woman, but, no, not really I wouldn’t say that at all. I would say it’s more of just Amory’s style.