Tag: Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

Careless People by Sarah Churchwell

Posted December 19, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 3 Comments

Careless People by Sarah ChurchwellTitle: Careless People (Goodreads)
Author: Sarah Churchwell
Published: Virago, 2013
Pages: 358
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Since the publication of The Great Gatsby in 1925, it has been talked and talked about. Some people were forced to read it in high school, some hate it and others love it. No matter what you think about the book you can’t deny its significance. Careless People looks at The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald and what was happening during the Jazz era. More specifically the months when this classic too place.

I loved The Great Gatsby, the first time I read it I got little out of it (see review) but the second time around, I feel like I really understood it (see that review as well). Though I’ve come to realise this novel is full of layers and the more you read and research the more you will get out of this novel. It has been widely though that The Great Gatsby was autobiographical in nature so understanding F. Scott Fitzgerald is important when reading this classic critically.

Sarah Churchwell has made life a little easier for people that love and want to learn more about this novel. Careless People looks at the text and then different events that were happening at the time of writing this novel. She also talks about the Fitzgeralds (a very interesting couple) and tries to give us some context about the motivations and thoughts behind this Magnum opus.

So you get historical context as well as a unique look into the lives of the Fitzgeralds and what we call the Jazz Age. I really enjoyed this book, as a lover of The Great Gatsby (not the terrible movie) I found it fascinating to learn about just what has happening at that time, especially in New York and F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the most interesting thinks I learnt from the book was about the lexicon, and new words coined at the time that are used today.

Something I often worry about when reading a non-fiction book like that is referencing. It is not common practice but I seem to respect a book more if I can see where information was found. Careless People did a great job with this; over 50 pages of notes and a bibliography so if you are interested (like me) you can look further and do some independent researching. Part biography, literary criticism, history and true crime, Careless People has a lot of information in it but it is only a scratching the surface on all accounts.

I wish I had this much to say about a book, especially the ones I love; I just want to dive in and learn all I can about it. I often struggle to write a review post, but one day I hope I can pull something off like this; keep an eye out for my 400 page reviews. It is clear that Churchwell is passionate about The Great Gatsby. This would be a great companion next time you read the classic, I can imagine how helpful it would be. I loved Careless People; I want to read more books like this, particularly about novels I love.