Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The Not-So-Great Gatsby
I'm reading The Great Gatsby now. The language is elegant, the plot is kept simple, but stylish. The characters are refined and distinguishable. It's truly a literary masterpiece, and a classic.
I hate it.
It's boring. There are people out there who hate Catcher in the Rye, because Holden Caulfield is a whiny git. They should hate this book instead - pretty people with petty problems, just like Beverly Hills 90210. People having affairs, unrequited love, rich people crashing cars and not giving a whit. Nobody in this book is likable either. Nobody is noble. Nobody has real problems. Maybe the audience here is women, and that's why I don't get it. It's not that the language isn't understandable (although there are plenty of non sequitir dialogue, where someone says something totally unrelated to what the previous person said), it's just that nothing very interesting happens. It's supposed to be about how the American dream of the pursuit of happiness has turned into the pursuit of wealth, but I don't get that. What I get is a soap opera, and people who can't be honest with themselves.
I was trying to read some classics, because I think a real writer should be reading them. Unfortunately, I don't know why. We already know that books written in the past would never get published today, and that's the whole goal. Being a genius writer is reserved for only a few, and I already know I can't be in that category. It also means that you get hated by high school students across America, and I don't want to be that guy either. It's a matter of whether I should be reading my contemporaries to figure out how to become a commercial writer, and being bored looking at the past to learn how to become a legendary writer.
People always keep saying you should read what you want to write. And I definitely don't want to write this. I guess that answers my question. Sorry, Gatsby.