Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
Pub: Jan 2013
4 of 5 stars
In this biographical book-about-a-book, the author explores the Fitzgeralds’ life during the Gatsby era and the real-life people, places, and events that inspired pieces of the classic novel.
it […] reconstructs a remarkable moment in America’s history, at the dizzying enter of which stood Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, trying to navigate their unsteady way through it.
As a Fitzgerald fanatic, I thoroughly enjoyed this in-depth look at the Roaring ’20s, particularly focused in on the people and events surrounding the Fitzgeralds during their time in Great Neck in 1922. During that autumn, newspapers also were reporting on a double homicide, with details that in some cases parallel the homicides that wrap up Gatsby. This well-researched book pieces together news events of the era (including ones about the Fitzgeralds themselves) in line with the chapters of Fitzgerald’s book for an analytical look at how Gatsby came about.
There were some sections, however, that felt a bit out of place and irrelevant, which I’m sure were simply meant to show the feel of the era and what was going on around that time, but with my interest in the Fitzgeralds and Gatsby, these were somewhat unnecessary. Even the murder eluded to in the title ended up not having as strong of ties to Gatsby as I had expected upon reading the summary.