By Fitzgerald, F. Scott
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1948
255 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
November 2016

This is F. Scoot Fitzgerald’s first novel and seems rooted in his own life. It is the story of a young man, Amory Blaine who is the son Beatrice. His father is dead. They have a quite decent source of wealth, but she’s isn’t much of a mother to him and he is sent off to boarding school and such.

Eventually he goes to Princeton and has some dreams of becoming a writer. He develops an important friendship with Monsignor Darcy, an intelligent and seemingly quite decent Roman Catholic priest who plays an important role in Amory’s life.

His college days end at the same time that the First World War is beginning and he enters the service and spends a short amount of time in the European theatre, but returns home safely.

Shortly after the war he falls in love with a beautiful and very rich woman, Roselind. She seems to love him as well, but she is worried about his lack of an income that would allow her to live the lifestyle which she has had all her life, and eventually she breaks off the relationship, crushing him and leaving him quite lost.

Additionally his mother dies and in economic hard times that follow the war his income is greatly decreased. However, he can think of virtually nothing except Roselind, yet realizes there is simply no real hope of every getting her back.

This is Fitzgerald’s first novel and is heavily autobiographical. Like the main character he had a similar situation with his beloved, but the publication and success of the book helped him to actually win his beloved back and she married him!

The novel is a bit difficult and curious to assess. First of all the main character, Amory, isn’t a terribly interesting fellow, thus I had a hard time feeling much connection to him. Secondly it seems that Fitzgerald was putting together bits and pieces of the story from two very different texts which he had written, and while most of the novel is in fairly standard format for a novel, some bits are in the form of a script for a play, and I was a bit confused as to what was going on with the writing itself.

I found it interesting to find out after I finished the novel that Fitzgerald himself had many of the actual experiences of his character, including a love affair much like his character, however Fitzgerald was able to win the woman in the end and married her, seemingly having a decent life with her.

In the end of the novel Amory does seem to know himself. Perhaps that’s why I simply wasn’t terribly excited about this work and it wasn’t in anyway within the class of fictional writing had in his much more famous later novel, THE GREAT GATSBY. On the other hand, I was satisfied with the book, it was just a good deal more unorganized and unified that I wouldn’t normally expect of a writer of his stature in literary history.

Bob Corbett


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Bob Corbett