This Side of Paradise
F. SCOTT SEPTEMBER: FITZGERALD FRIDAY!
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3 of 5 stars
The first of Fitzgerald’s novels, this story revolves around the college life of Amory Blaine, a self-proclaimed intellectual trying to find his place in a changing world.
“I’m restless. My whole generation is restless. I’m sick of a system where the richest man gets the most beautiful girl if he wants her, where the artist without an income has to sell his talents to a button manufacturer.”
When first published, Fitzgerald’s novel received a lot of criticism, and in some ways, it’s easy to see why. In today’s market, editors would certainly pick apart his tendency to tell instead of show. Amory is hardly a likable protagonist, and the minor characters tend to be two-dimensional and dull.
What redeems this story, though, is how — as a whole — it paints such a vivid picture of the era, of the personal struggle of one man that represents the drifting feeling of his generation. Also, regardless of what the plot might be, Fitzgerald has a way of phrasing things that draws me in. Though, honestly, I probably could have done without so much poetry.
Overall: An insightful, semi-autobiographical look at the life of a college man in the 1910s.