Review – The Great Gatsby Audio Book

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Tim Robbins

borrowed from the library

I don’t know how I escaped reading this book while in school, but I am pretty bummed that I did.  I think I would have enjoyed the discussions had about it.  I am trying to read a classic here and there, to force my brain to think a bit more, so I grabbed this audio book from the library.  The book has been on my shelf awhile and I at least wanted to understand the story, as I simply can’t get much more out of the audio.  Listening is great, but I can’t fully appreciate the descriptions as my mind will wander while listening and driving (and possibly chewing gum or sipping coffee).

Most of you know the story, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy five years before, he has finally earned enough money to be worthy of her and is now trying to reconnect.  Unfortunately she is married to a wealthy man who has been cheating on her.  Gatsby through Nick, his neighbor and the narrator, arranges a meet.    Stuff happens.  If you see the trailer for the new movie with DiCaprio – lots of stuff happens!  Woo boy.  Well, it isn’t quite that wild in the book.  The first part of the book had me laughing, I found Nick’s tongue in cheek humor funny and enjoyable.  The book doesn’t stay funny, things get serious…but perhaps I missed further jibes by not reading the words?  I don’t know.

I think, and I haven’t read any essays on Gatsby, that Fitzgerald was juxtaposing the self-made man against old money, or rather people who didn’t have to earn their money, power or position.  At the end he calls Daisy and her husband Tom “careless”.  They didn’t think about how their actions affected other people and didn’t accept responsibility of the repercussions.  In fact, Tom directly shoves his problems toward Gatsby, knowing what would happen, and feels absolutely justified at the end.  It is also possibly a west vs east mentality thing.  Nick calls himself and Gatsby westerners.  Both of them accept responsibility and have strong work ethics while those easterners don’t.  I think the idea was that most self-made men had to travel west to find their fortunes, you know, “Go west, young man”.  Am I making things up?  Someone set me straight if you disagree.

Also, it is during the roaring 20s and everything wonderful was defined by excess.  The parties were huge and the drinking nonstop.  Gatsby throws impromptu parties weekly and in effect builds a web and tries to catch Daisy in it by hoping she will eventually show up at one.  When that doesn’t work, he befriends Nick.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to truly befriend anyone else.

As for the audio book, Tim Robbins was absolutely amazing.  He did a top notch performance with voices and accents for each character.  You heard the slushy drunk, the Long Island accent, brash, harsh, quiet and demure.  It was awesome.  My only problem was I listened in the car and when a character whispered I turned up the volume and suddenly I was louder than the cars around me.  It was a little embarrassing when my windows were down and I pulled up to a stop.  Oh well, it was fun.

I give the book 4 stars.  I now need to read the words.  Hopefully I get to it soon, as I think I will need to forget some of it to enjoy what they do to the movie!  (Jaded I know, but I can’t help it!)

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About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.
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13 Responses to Review – The Great Gatsby Audio Book

  1. diannegray says:

    I read this many years ago and loved it (I never saw the movie). I’m becoming obsessed with audio books. The only thing is that I fall asleep when I listen to them at night (and miss chapters!)

    • ocdreader says:

      I haven’t seen the movie either, I didn’t even know the story – fail for an English major, oh well!
      I am becoming obsessed with them as well, just picked up two at the library yesterday – yay! I had gone a whole week in the car without one and it felt weird. 🙂

      • Erin C. says:

        do they make you drive slower so that you have more time to listen?

      • ocdreader says:

        LOL – I did today! Also I will sometimes I sit in the parking lot or driveway to get to a natural break…I am in less of a hurry, that is for sure. 🙂

  2. A great classic book. I need to read this again.

  3. Sharmin says:

    I hated this book. This was the first classic I hated. I felt no sympathy for gatsby and his obsession with daisy was quite mindless. Everything about this book was in excess. But I’m glad you enjoyed it. I hope you will here viewing other classics!

    • ocdreader says:

      I can totally understand that. In fact I think Nick hinted that Gatsby was a little nuts in his “love” for Daisy as well. He didn’t even know her, but he had lived this emotion for so long he was going to see it through. I try to read a few classics a year, this was only the 2nd one! I need to get cracking. 🙂

      • Sharmin says:

        Haha yes, I think you will find that you enjoy quite a few of them. I’ve recently become a little obsessed with period romances because I’ve been trying to relive reading Jane Austen’s novels! Well, anyways, I hope you will be putting up more review of the classics you have read. I really enjoy reading your thoughts!

  4. Sara says:

    I might have missed it, too. But Hubby had to read it for his college English class (YEARS ago), and so I read it, plus all the other books on the syllabus. I remember I loved it. But I best read it again before the new movie comes out!

    • ocdreader says:

      That is great, I wish I knew someone taking an English class so I could read and talk about the books with them. 🙂 Blogging is the next best thing! 🙂

  5. beckyday6 says:

    I love this review, and (from an average gal) I agree with your interpretation of the story. 🙂 I really wanted to like this book, there were aspects of it that I loved, but a heck of a lot I didn’t. I didn’t really connect with any characters, not because I disliked them or anything but I just felt very far away from them. I found Nick as a narrator quite annoying as well. :/ I’m still glad that I read it though, it made me really think, which is something I do like in a book.

    I’m thinking I might actually enjoy it more as a film…I guess we will see! 😛

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    • ocdreader says:

      I really liked it as audio actually – I am glad I tried it that way because I would have floundered with the book…but now that I know the story I think I could appreciate it more! Weird, but true for me. I saw you posted your review – I need to go check it out!

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