challenges, quotes, reviews

This side of Paradise


This side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Every time I read the title I get that Coldplay song start going in my head, you know the one: PARA PARA PARADISE. I really hate Coldplay, so that was kind of annoying, fortunately, I really liked this book so… It evened itself out I guess.

This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s romantic and witty first novel, was written when the author was only twenty-three years old. This semiautobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame. Now, readers can enjoy the newly edited, authorized version of this early classic of the Jazz Age, based on Fitzgerald’s original manuscript. In this definitive text, This Side of Paradise captures the rhythms and romance of Fitzgerald’s youth and offers a poignant portrait of the “Lost Generation.”

If this book is semiautobiographical, dear old Scott must have had a pretty lowly opinion of himself, if indeed, he did base Amory Blaine on his own life. Blaine is… well, a bit of a twat really, who seems to think he’s much more entitled than he actually is.

Fitzgerald writes so goddamn beautifully, he could make even the most ugly person sound worthwhile and breathtaking, which he does he with finesse and perfect clarity. Seriously, who do I have to deliver chocolate biscuits to to be able to write like this?

This is the story of a selfish egotist and how he floats through life, falls hopelessly in love and because no matter who you are and what you think you’re entitled to, love will kick you in the ass at some point, doesn’t always have a fabulous time doing it.

I wanted to bring back my whole #LoveThisQuote thing that I started doing a little while ago, because Fitzgerald is the most amazing writer ever, but I would have ended up doing a million posts, so here’s a selection of my favourites:

  • “I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
  • “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”
  • “There is a moment—Oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered word—something that makes it worth while.
  • “Don’t let yourself feel worthless: often through life you will really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself; and don’t worry about losing your “personality,” as you persist in calling it: at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4 p.m.”

If you’ve read the Great Gatsby and are looking for more Fitzgerald to get your teeth into, then I highly recommend This Side of Paradise and if you’ve not read anything by him and are looking for something, This Side of Paradise isn’t a long, arduous novel and although it is style over substance, like most Fitzgerald, but the writing is all kinds of beautiful so that stops being a problem fairly early on.
And so ends my final post in the six week challenge series. I have spent the last six weeks reviewing everything that I read, it’s been fun and I think its made a difference to the way I think about books during and after I’ve read them. So, yeah, I hope you’ve enjoyed this challenge.
You can have a look at all the books I’ve read in the past six weeks here.



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