This Side Of Paradise Review

To be honest, I’ve been putting off writing this review for a while, because while I did enjoy the book, I didn’t really know how to collect my thoughts together to form a coherent post. Classics tend to have a lot more depth than your average YA novel and therefore, can be more difficult to read/comprehend and then reflect upon afterward. However, here we go, just bear with me.

Summary: This story follows Amory Blaine from childhood to his early twenties. Growing up with wealth from his mother, he attends private schools and gains an education despite his disinterest in formal schooling and work. Once he is accepted into Princeton and fails his first class, he resorts completely to learning in the non-traditional sense through books and word of mouth. However, towards the end of college, he enlists to fight in World War 1. But by the time he gets back, everything has changed including the death of his dear mother. Shortly after his return he falls in love with a young debutante, Rosalind, but when the relationship doesn’t work out financially, Amory was left on his own once again, and discovers, after the numerous tragedies in his life, himself.

Rating: 4 Stars

Why?: While this book had it’s slow points and logical gaps, it certainly gave us an insight into the life of its author, F.Scott Fitzgerald, which I greatly enjoyed. Because while this book is technically fictional with fictional characters and settings, there are many autobiographical elements intertwined in the life of Amory Blaine. This brings us to the ending of the story, which was my favorite part personally because there isn’t really an end. This matches up with the fact that he wrote this as an autobiography, because at the point in his life when he wrote this novel, he was just as lost as Amory Blaine.

The whole idea of having an ending to a story that isn’t really an ending really intrigued me. His life wasn’t close to over but the book was, and that meant something had to happen, and they always say to write what you know. So that’s exactly what he did. He wrote up to where he knew, he wrote about how he got to this point in his life most likely to give himself the inspiration to keep going, despite his history, and that’s admirable. It made the story authentic. It made you feel something. It made you feel a little more comfortable with the bumps in your road because at least this one other person has had to deal with them too, so much so that he felt the need to write about it. This book didn’t only create a realistic portrait of a person on the journey of self-discovery, but it created a realistic portrait of an author so many people have looked up to for so long, and the fact that he was able to put both into a fictional story is certainly unique.

Have any of you read this book or any others by F.Scott Fitzgerald? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

-Lily

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