Title: This Side of Paradise
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Page Count: 256
This was basically Fitzgerald’s first major success, helping to define what later came to be known as the jazz generation. In fact, from what I understand, it was Fitzgerald himself who came up with the term.
This book reads as quite experimental, and it uses multiple different formats to tell its story, from poetry and prose through to the script for a play. It also feels a little disjointed at times, but that’s to be expected as it tries to tell different stories using different points of view.
For an early novel, this is surprisingly well-written, and it shows a lot of the promise that Fitzgerald would later become known for. It also has a lot of interesting little scenes that reflect the timescale that it was made in, including one revolving around prostitution in which we learn that the hotels and the press have what can best be described as a special arrangement.
I don’t think this is a masterpiece or anything like that, and I’m not about to recommend it over The Great Gatsby or some of Fitzgerald’s short stories, which were excellent. It’s still worth reading if you can find the time though, especially if you’re a fan of Fitzgerald’s work and you’re a bit of a completionist like me. And of course, there’s also the fact that he slips in a little bit of philosophy and socialism. Nice.