I can’t tell you what my favorite book is. Nor can I tell you my favorite book from any genre either.
What I can tell you is what book, to me, summarizes humanity.
It’s a very well-known book and often regarded as a classic and for good reason for it is indeed a masterpiece. It is sad but romantic and the writing style gives the story both charm and beauty.
It is the Great Gatsby.
While this book is set in the 1920’s and so may be a bit dated it still feels very fresh and relevant to me. It may be because of the vivid descriptions or because I have a good imagination but I can always see those very same characters as they play out their lives. Also, Fitzgerald was able to capture how humans are trapped by memory. Even people who rarely have time to think will occasionally find themselves wondering what their life would have been like if they had done this… or that… or both. In Gatsby’s case, even a man who intends to distract himself from thinking will still end up wondering the same things. What if we hadn’t made that mistake? Would it make any difference? Would she even care? All of us want to correct our wrongs. This book also convey’s how we all want to be time travelers. While it may be physically impossible for humans to actually travel to the past we all have times in our lives where we find ourselves traveling back to a fond memory. Or, one that isn’t so fond at all. Memory haunts and delights us. It is our eternal cage and for an introvert like me one that I can’t escape easily.
Gatsby is an idealist. He has the heart of a young boy inside the body of a man. He wants the world and seeks to attain it. He wants Daisy without even thinking for a moment that she belonged to someone else. He always thought she still loved him. That that love would be enough. While the degree is varied many humans are like that. We wish for the unattainable and when we find that it is lost to us… well, it’s hard to pick ourselves back up. Humans are fragile creatures after all. We’d rather ignore our problems and faults then deal with them.
Dealing with them is too painful. Too harsh.
And they are “careless people…smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness… and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Aren’t we all like that?