Five by Fitzgerald

Posted July 30, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 3 Comments

Everyone looks sassier with one of those long cigarettes!

Five by Fitzgerald
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrated by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen R. Throne
Audio Go!, Published 2/14/12
5 hours and 6 minutes
Received for publisher for review
[#55 in my 75 book challenge]

GUESS WHAT, GUYS?

I finally read a classic for my classic challenge! Since The Great Gatsby is coming to movie theaters this Christmas, I thought I’d read some of his other works. This audio book is a series of five short stories, each about an hour long, and all very different:

Bernice Bobs Her Hair: Boring Bernice is staying with her friendly, popular cousin Marjorie. Marjorie teaches Bernice how to be popular, which includes telling the boys she’s going to bob her hair. The story is full of catty girl behavior, 1920’s style.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: You might have seen the movie for this one (I haven’t, but I want to!). Basically, Benjamin Button is born an old man and ages backwards. Pretty fascinating, actually. And weird.

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz: One family is the richest family in the world because they live on a diamond. Literally, they live on a mountain that has a solid diamond inside. However, being impossibly rich isn’t always easy when you always have to hide and defend your wealth. This story would make an excellent action movie…ahem, Hollywood, take note. 

Dalyrimple Goes Wrong: Dalyrimple is a salesman who just can’t catch a break. The other guys are making more than him, and he’s pissed…so he takes matters into his own hands. I felt this story was a little reminiscent of Death of a Salesman at the beginning, though it does stand on its own by the end.

Head and Shoulders: A prodigy philosophy student meets an actress, turning his world upside down. That’s about all I can say about this story, and it wasn’t really my favorite.

Each story had a few things in common. First, it takes Fitzgerald a few chapters to really introduce the central conflict of the story. He takes his sweet time in setting up the story, which can be difficult when listening to short stories in audio form. Second, Fitzgerald treats extraordinary events like they are completely normal. For example, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the guys just brings home a septuagenerian from the maternity ward without much question. Finally, they all have a little twist at the end. Not a huge OMG moment, but a brief twist to end the story and make the listener go “Ooooohhhhh!”

Both of the narrators did an excellent job here, and I really liked Bronson Pinchot’s storytelling. I’ve certainly found a few audio book narrators annoying, but these guys were pretty neutral — which I like. I’m quite glad that I chose this as an audio book instead of reading it in print, since the short stories felt like story time in my car. Kind of fun!

FINAL GRADE:   C   Remember, C is good grade! It means the book was average, just maybe not exactly my thing. I can appreciate classics, but they certainly aren’t my go-to books for most of my reading. Fitzgerald’s creativity surprised me, even if I found myself rewinding the book at several points because I got lost, bored, or confused. I liked some stories (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Diamond as Big As The Ritz) more than others (Dalyrimple Goes Wrong), but that’s true of any short story collection. I recommend these stories to English students and fans of Fitzgerald, and it would definitely be a good choice before Fitzgerald is back in the spotlight this Christmas. It’s also a good for anyone looking for accessible “classics.” Probably not a good addition to a middle school library, but any of these stories would make a good choice for reading with a high school class!

(Would you call this collection a classic? I was on the fence about that. Ultimately, I decieded yes, why not? It’s my challenge, so I make the rules. But I was wondering what y’all think!)

Tara

Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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3 responses to “Five by Fitzgerald

  1. stuckinva

    I’m excited about the Great Gatsby movie…I need to remember to find a copy of the book before the movie, though.

  2. I teach Gatsby every year and I find it only satisfying when I have a pen in hand, ready to annotate. It is one of my favorite books, but I honestly have not picked up many of his short stories. Might be fun to do as a intro. Very awesome blog! Well done!

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