Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh, F. Scott. Not entirely sure how to feel about this tale. Should I laugh? Should I cry? In the end, I did neither.

Let me start by saying I adore Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I love the lyrical descriptions, the flawed characters, and the excess, vanity, and tragedy oozing through each line. Even the characters I hate are drawn perfectly enough to understand their motivations and poor decisions. Not so with Benjamin Button. We fly through his life in reverse with little detail. I'm left with so many unanswered questions. What happened to his mother? How did the split with his wife occur? What in the world was everyone around him thinking as he regressed right into a crib and on to his grave? The story is told through Benjamin's point of view, and as a result we aren't shown any other perspective. It left me a little depressed at the end. Benjamin was unlikeable as he "aged" into his immaturity, which is probably the point. I think Benjamin is supposed to be a sympathetic character, but I didn't feel it as I read. Fitzgerald was said to have called this "the funniest story ever written" but at no point did the story make me laugh.

If you are looking for a short story by Fitzgerald, I recommend Bernice Bobs Her Hair instead. Much more satisfying.

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