The Beautiful and the Damned
The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4 of 5 stars
Young, educated Anthony Patch marries beautiful society girl Gloria Gilbert, and together they live from one party to the next as they await the inheritance they expect to receive from Anthony’s grandfather.
“Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know–because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand.”
The second of Fitzgerald’s novels, this story of Anthony and Gloria seems almost to pick up where This Side of Paradise leaves off, with Anthony acting as a somewhat more mature, somewhat classier Amory Blaine. Though he finds the love of his life, Gloria is just as light and careless as the Daisy Buchanan that follows her in The Great Gatsby and the two of them together work to slowly ruin one another.
I’ve always been a fan of Fitzgerald’s prose, and here, he delves deeper into human nature and darker emotions than This Side of Paradise. It’s hard to like Anthony and Gloria, yet watching their marriage deteriorate, you can’t help but keep hoping that something will happen to bring these two dynamic characters back to one another. It’s been long enough since I last read it that I didn’t recall how it ended, which wasn’t at all how I expected.
Overall: Taking pages from his own life and downfall, Fitzgerald’s chronicles of the doomed protagonist are still powerful almost a century later.