Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The old college try

Current book: This Side of Paradise
Pages read: 11-81

I'm astonished to say that so far I'm actually enjoying this book. The main character, Amory Blaine, while a bit on the useless rich guy side, is not actually utterly despicable, which makes a lovely change from most of Fitzgerald.

So far we've ushered Amory through his childhood and early college years. Amory was born to a wealthy mother and father and raised with all the proper appurtenances of the wealthy, although he did spend two years of his youth in Minneapolis learning about how the bourgeois live. (Ahem.) He attended prep school in Connecticut, and is now enrolled at Princeton, where he's coming to the end of his sophomore year.

The plot is really less important than watching Amory's intellectual development, which has progressed from the characteristic arrogance of youth to the characteristic arrogance of young adulthood. I jest, but it's true on some level. Amory has always been interested in literature and poetry, but sleeps through most of his college courses and instead reads his own selections during the nights. He gallivants about with his college friends, joining the Princeton comedy group and a respectable fraternity, and generally engages in the sorts of things that college students do. There are spontaneous trips to the shore, cutting classes in the interests of enjoying spring days, and other such mad exploits. (Seeing as it's gorgeous outside here, it's making me think rather fondly of college springtime, I have to say. Not that I ever cut classes. Because that would be wrong.) Anyway, the only other point to note is that he's fallen in love, or at least the semblance of it, with Isabelle, a girl from home. We shall see what develops. My supposition is that it'll end in tears one way or another.

It really is entertaining so far, perhaps largely because of the college nostalgia, but due in part to the fact that Fitzgerald includes some snarky narration and a healthy sense of the comical and absurd. It's also highly amusing that "speeds" (fast girls) are considered to be such because of the fact that they're prone to kissing men whom they've met only once or twice. Oh, the scandal!

No comments:

Post a Comment


A Clockwork Orange (5) A Good Man Is Hard to Find (4) A Passage to India (6) A Room with a View (3) A Separate Peace (2) Absalom Absalom (6) Achebe (5) Adams (3) All the King's Men (8) An American Tragedy (17) Atlas Shrugged (16) Babbitt (8) back from hiatus (1) baking (11) Baldwin (4) Baum (3) Bonfire of the Vanities (6) borderline (12) Brideshead Revisited (9) Burgess (5) Burroughs (1) canon (1) Capote (6) Cat's Cradle (3) Cather (19) cheesecake (4) Chopin (4) Conrad (5) cooking (25) Death Comes for the Archbishop (6) DeLillo (6) Dreiser (17) du Maurier (2) Edith Wharton (1) emergency (2) Ethan Frome (1) excuses (141) Faulkner (9) Felicia DeSmith (3) Finnegan's Wake (1) Fitzgerald (24) For Whom the Bell Tolls (3) Forster (19) Fowles (7) Franny and Zooey (2) Go Tell It on the Mountain (4) Grahame (2) Guest post (3) Hammett (2) Hemingway (5) hiatus (4) holiday (5) horrible (4) Howards End (6) In Cold Blood (6) In Our Time (1) Irving (6) James (25) Jazz (1) Joyce (1) Keneally (7) Kerouac (5) Kim (7) Kipling (7) Knowles (2) Lady Chatterly's Lover (6) Lawrence (26) Lewis (13) Light in August (3) London (3) Look Homeward Angel (9) Lord Jim (5) Mailer (7) Main Street (5) Midnight's Children (9) Miller (6) Morrison (1) Mrs. Dalloway (3) My Antonia (6) not a novel (4) O Pioneers (7) O'Connor (4) On the Road (5) Orlando (4) other books (7) page updates (1) Rabbit Run (4) Rand (24) Rebecca (2) recap (1) Rhys (6) Rushdie (18) Salinger (2) Schindler's List (7) Sinclair (6) Sons And Lovers (12) Sophie's Choice (10) Star Trek (1) Stein (5) Styron (10) Tender is the Night (10) The Age of Innocence (4) The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (5) The Awakening (4) The Beautiful and the Damned (8) The Bostonians (9) The Call of the Wild (3) The Fellowship of the Ring (5) The Fountainhead (8) The French Lieutenant's Woman (7) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2) The Jungle (6) The Lord of the Rings (16) The Maltese Falcon (2) The Naked and the Dead (7) The Naked Lunch (1) The Old Man and the Sea (1) The Portrait of a Lady (10) The Return of the King (6) The Satanic Verses (9) The Two Towers (5) The War of the Worlds (4) The Wind in the Willows (2) The Wings of the Dove (6) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (3) The World According to Garp (6) Things Fall Apart (6) This Side of Paradise (6) Thomas Wolfe (9) To the Lighthouse (3) Tolkien (16) Tom Wolfe (6) Triv (2) Tropic of Cancer (6) unworthy (33) Updike (4) vacation (2) Vonnegut (3) Warren (8) Waugh (9) Wells (4) Wharton (4) Where Angels Fear to Tread (4) White Noise (6) Wide Sargasso Sea (6) Women In Love (8) Woolf (10) worthy (25)