The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Is this it? AM I REALLY CAUGHT UP???? Seriously, it’s been so long since I approached anything close to my amount of actual reviews that it feels a little strange. Vacation at the in-laws’ house has been good for reading and reviewing. I brought several unread-till-now books to read, and I’m making an inroad on those, too! I’ve never read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, except for The Great Gatsby, of course. I decided years ago to expand my reading base, and I purchased The Beautiful and Damned on an impulse. As it turns out, there’s a pretty good reason that it’s a lot less famous.
So, let’s talk The Beautiful and Damned. It’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel, and it covers the story of an unhappy marriage. If you’ve read Fates and Furies, there will be some familiar themes. Anthony Patch is seeking to inherit his grandfather’s fortune, and he wants to be important in life. He meets Gloria Gilbert, and their love story follows the path to ruin as they enter the Modernist era full of glorious ideas and idle plans to succeed. The war leads to a slight chance of redemption, but the promise of money arrives too late to divert them from any other but their self-destructive paths.
This novel is a slow descent into misery. You can tell how this is going to end before it actually ends, but oh, man. It’s seriously just a miserable novel full of miserable characters. I think this is an important glimpse at the decadence and ruin that precipitated the Roaring Twenties, but it’s really hard to watch characters make poor decision after poor decision, when you know what the likely outcome will be.