By Andrew Gumbel
"One of the enduring qualities of The Great Gatsby, just released in yet another filmed adaptation over the weekend, is that it’s a perfect book to read as a teenager, which is when most people first come to it. The idea of reinventing yourself as a suave, charming, deeply mysterious man of fabulous wealth for the sole purpose of recapturing your lost love is nothing if not a wonderful adolescent dream. Gatsby dreams up his “Platonic conception of himself” when he is 17 and already senses that the adult world is filled with crushing disappointments.
"I’m not sure I really grasped that idea, or indeed any of the other reasons why Gatsby continues to resonate so deeply, when I first read the book at school in Britain more than 30 years ago. It was my first encounter with a substantial work of American literature, and my initial reaction was mostly surprise at the familiarity of Fitzgerald’s descriptions of class stratification, snobbery, and social pretense."