Thursday, December 4, 2014

Recently Read: Flappers and Philosphers

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Classic/Short Story Collection
Publication Date: 1920
Page Count: 226
Rating: 5/5 

I've read all but one of Fitzgerald's novels and a few of his short stories before I read this collection which contains eight stories. Fitzgerald is one of my favorite writers so of course I enjoyed this collection.

My top three favorite stories from this collection are, Head and Shoulders, Bernice Bobs her Hair, and The Four Fists. The collection also contains the very well known story The Ice Palace, which I had read before. 

Fitzgerald is an amazing writer. His prose is so lyrical and rhythmic and I love the way he builds character and describes his characters. I would read his work purely for the beautiful writing, but his stories and characters are amazing as well. For example:
"After a few years Samuel's university decided that it had shone long enough in the reflected glory of his neckties, so they declaimed to him in Latin, charged him ten dollars for the paper which proved him irretrievably educated, and sent him into the turmoil with much self-confidence, a few friends, and the proper assortment of bad habits."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald "The Four Fists" pg 212

Did you melt into a puddle of happiness when you read that sentence? Now imagine reading a dozen short stories and four completed novels that all read like that. If you have only read Gatsby, you must read more! I would recommend moving on to his short stories next, though I will warn you, some of them can be a little weird, and are wayyyy different than Gatsby (Um, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz anyone?) but they are still excellent. Fitzgerald had to write these short stories to sell to magazines to support the expensive life style that he and Zelda were privy too, but he considered himself a novelist and resented having to write these stories to pay the bills. The resentment and the excessive alcohol could explain the weirdness of a few of the stories, but I'm just speculating of course. 

Bernice Bobs her Hair and Head and Shoulders capture the Jazz age tone and themes brilliantly. Both have a very strong ending, and if I had to chose only one story from this collection, it would be Head and Shoulders. I thought The Four Fists was very clever and had really strong themes and I would love to work with it in a classroom setting in the future.  

I recommend everything and anything by Fitzgerald, even the stuff I haven't read yet because I know it will be great.

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