“This Side of Paradise” by F Scott Fitzgerald

ThisSideOfParadiseWikipedia says that This Side of Paradise is the author’s debut novel, published in 1920. The book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking.

Our classics lovers read this in April 2015, and seven people attended the meeting. Unfortunately, no-one really liked this book, even the person who had suggested it! Rather than being seen as daringly experimental, our group felt it was rather a bodge-job . Other criticisms were that the characters were pretentious and unlikable, and that the story was boring.

Readers’ scores were low, ranging from 2 to 6 with an average of 4.5 (from 9 readers including 2 votes by email).


We received these emailed comments from Jade:

“I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this book at all, although I have to say that 1920s society-lit rarely strikes a chord with me so that’s down to personal taste. Although it romped along reasonably well and I finished it quite quickly, I didn’t like any of the characters and wasn’t able to sympathise or get on board with their petty problems. I found the themes superficial and frankly quite boring. The random bits of poetry dotted around irritated the hell out of me too; although most poetry irritates the hell out of me so again that’s more down to personal taste than a criticism of the writer. I’ll give this 2/10 when you add the scores up. I genuinely can’t think of a single thing I liked about it – the only reason I’m not giving it a zero is that it was quite a quick and easy read, so not actually too painful to get through!”

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