A few years back, when I was still a student of American literature, I had these teachers that would make me think F.S. Fitzgerald was this great, great author. But as it turned out, not only them! He’s considered a great author, a legend even, by a lot other literary experts. So many and so much that it made me think I’m a little stupid.
Because here’s a thing. I don’t like the guy. (I mean, his writing. I know practically nothing about him as a person). I tried reading The Great Gatsby – since, you know, it’s a Legendary Book – but I couldn’t. Just couldn’t. Bored me to death. And I seriously disliked that Daisy-girl (though I liked her name).
This year I gave F.S. Fitzgerald another chance and read his collection of short stories. Okay, I liked them a little better than The Great Gatsby, but where the legend, I ask myself? Seriously, where?
So, anyway, the stories are as follows (in the order as they appeared in the version I read):
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- O Russet Witch
- Hot and Cold Blood
- The Four Fists
- The Camel’s Back
- The Offshore Pirate
- Gretchen’s Forty Winks
- The Lees of Happiness
The cover promises me stories about yearning for success, getting old and getting one’s hopes destroyed, and bitterness of failure. Sure, we get that, but sort of as an after-thought. To be honest these stories for me were just sort of cute, harmless little tales. Not very memorable.
Also, the question that I pondered most when reading those (except for “Where exactly is this guy’s phenomenon?), was “Is F. S. Fitzgerald even able to create a female character I might actually like?” Because most of them annoyed the heck out of me. Especially the one in The Offshore Pirate. I try to avoid speaking to girls like that, and reading about them is not really easier.
One more thing before I wrap it up. I watched the movie about Benjamin Button. There was a time it seemed like everyone watched it. It was a few years ago, so I’m not sure exactly. But it did seem like the story and the movie seemed like two almost different tales.
Yeah, well, I don’t care enough to check it.
Let’s wrap up now. I’m not sure why this came out so… bitter? Bad? Maybe because I’ve been sort of frustrated with “everyone” telling me F. S. Fitzgerald was such an extraordinary writer. Or maybe because I’m frustrated with myself for either not understanding it (still, “after all these years”), or for trying to adopt somebody else’s opinion.
Regardless, to be honest I think these stories are quite interesting. They were fun to read, most of the time, and it didn’t feel like a chore (which sometimes happen). I mean, after all, I managed to finish them.
However, I’d say this much – they were meaningless enough for me to once and for all come to terms with this sad fact that I will probably never appreciate F. S. Fitzgerald.