The Not So Great, ‘Great Gatsby’

I have some huge gaps in my literary background.  I wouldn’t know where to begin to list them   Let’s just say there are many great works of literature that have somehow eluded me.  These include more than a few  of Shakespeare’s plays.  This lack is  especially apparent in my office where a number of the players are former actors and know  the Bard’s works very well.  Chapter and verse.  I like that Luap, De and Nire are  knowledgeable in this way.  I  also like that my office is high fallutin’ in that way.  What I don’t like is how much of a slug I  feel like when my ignorance of those and other classics is exposed.  

Every so often I decide to take steps to remedy this shortcoming.  I usually gird myself and promise that  I’m going to read one of those classic novels that somehow fell through the cracks in my public school education.  And the one that usually heads the pack is, Moby Dick. That’s right….I never read Moby Dick!   Call me pisha!  (For a translation, ask your rabbi.)  It’s not that I know nothing about it…..I know enough that I can usually get the crossword puzzle answer, “Ahab”.  But, I bet there’s more to the book than that.  I’ve often heard it referred to as THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.  How could  I not have read what is  believed to be  THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL!!   But whenever I’m about to head off to  Barnes and Noble to buy it, I poll whoever is around at the time and  I swear, I’ve never met anyone who has read it that has actually liked it.  And it’s looong,  too ( I think).   I’m all for self-improvement but there has to be some hope of a payoff.  So, Moby Dick remains unread and will probably remain so.

This past Sunday was a miserable weather day.  I was looking forward to staying in, listening to music and catching up on some reading. I started going a little stir crazy so I decided to take a walk  and pick up another IMPORTANT BOOK that had also escaped me…The Great Gatsby.  I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to read this.  I don’t think I ever saw the movie and there are never any crossword puzzle clues referring to it  (it seems as if this is the primary source of everything I know), so although I have a general sense of the book,  I don’t know too many specifics.   I bought the soft cover copy ($15.95) at B&N .  Well….I can’t tell how (pleasantly) surprised I was to discover how short a novel it is!  Not great at all.  Small.  179 pages….that’s it.  I’ve been feeling like such a sap for not having read a book that’s only 179 pages! What an idiot!   All those years that I couldn’t throw around Gatsby references because of a measly 179 pages!  What a travesty.   But ever the one to make grapefruit juice from grapefruits (another expression I’m trying to coin.), I’m going to learn from this experience.  I’m going to list all the GREAT BOOKS missing from my resume and cull the ones that are less than 200 pages.  Jeez,  when you think about it, you could read three, maybe four Gatsby’s instead of one Anna Karenina!

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5 Responses to “The Not So Great, ‘Great Gatsby’”

  1. Lav Says:

    FYI, I grew up in West Egg which is where F (I feel close enough to call him F) wrote the great The Great Gatsby.

    • ironicman Says:

      Lav…first it’s great neck, then it’s kings point…now it’s west egg?
      you have to pick one. you’re like woddy allen in zelig.

      btw… it’s possible we knew each other in high school…. I grew up in Fried Egg. We played you guys in the Egg finals.

  2. jackie Says:

    You could try reading the comics “classics”. Remember those? I remember reading the “classic comic”, Les Miserable, and it was pretty good! (If you can find them.)

    • ironicman Says:

      i forgot about those. is there somewhere i can get a synopsis of the comic classic….or maybe just a summary of the synopsis?

  3. ed Says:

    Lien –

    This is more respect than we former actors (though you’re never a “former” actor) have ever gotten. Thank you! We, “the abstracts and brief chronicles of (our) time,” thank you!

    – dE

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