Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prongs - Tenth Review -Tender is the Night

Happy Humpday there friends.
Prongs here bringing you my 10th review! (Applause from the audience) Haha now that I am typing it, 10 seems like so little. However we here at GBI are dedicated to only bringing you reviews of books that we truly love and believe in.... so I kind of have to weed out the bad ones which can take some time. However, before we get to tonight's entertainment I have a couple of announcements.

First, you may have noticed the tabs at the top (^ just look right up there folks) that we are now rocking. Well we have to give a HUGE shout out to Jess from Books Love Jessica Marie for putting that together for us. Padfoot and I are both kind of HTML-deficient, so Jess was kind enough to help us out with that. So thanks again Jess... and every one make sureee to go check out her blog. Lots of fun things await you. (You can also now find her under our list of fellow Marauders... a very coveted spot.)

Secondly, if you have not already...make sure you check out our link to Gela Skins. I was not kidding when I said it is an amazing site. I pretty much am going to go broke trying to buy every thing on there, so make sure you pick yourself up something before I buy it all up. The link can be found just to your right ----> (Lots of arrows tonight haha)

Alright that is about all I have for now. Harry Potter comes out in less than 2 weeks, and you better believe that we have some special things planned for that so be on the look out for that and much more to come over the month of July! Have a great night and hope you enjoy the review!!!

Tender is the Night
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
"He looked at her and for a moment she lived in the bright blue worlds of his eyes, eagerly and confidently."

Most of us can only dream of a life that is full of riches, beautiful women, and holidays on the French Rivera; that is because most of us do not have the writing dexterity of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tender is the Night was the last completed novel written by Fitzgerald before his death, and shows how he has come almost full circle in understanding the complexities of life and love that proved to be such a large impact on his works. While Tender is the Night is not intended to be autobiographical, it does reflect the events Fitzgerald’s world, such as life in the French Rivera, his abuse of alcohol, and coping with his wife’s own battle with mental illness. This novel is breathtaking in its structure and heartbreaking in its simplicities, giving the reader a brief insight into a beautiful yet broken world.

The novel begins with the focus on Rosemary, a young actress who is vacationing with her mother in the French Rivera, and whom is introduced to the quietly confident Nicole and Dick Driver. From here, Rosemary is introduced to a world of fashion, riches, and the dazzling lifestyles of the posh friends that surround the Driver’s. Rosemary is also introduced to the first pains of love when she falls deeply infatuated with Dick, whom at the time holds all of the appeal of someone who understands the best of life. Fitzgerald describes all of this with conscientious detail, making the reader long for the lives that they are being introduced to as well.
“They stopped thinking with an almost painful relief, stopped seeing; they only breathed and sough each other. They were both in the gray gentle world of a mild hangover of fatigue when the nerves relax in bunches like piano strings, and crackle suddenly like wicker chairs. Nerves so raw and tender must surely join other nerves, lips to lips, breast to breast...”
As the novel progresses, we are eventually given deeper insight to the world that of course could never be as good as it seemed. Adultery, mental illness, and alcoholism are constant dark clouds that drift in and out of the once blue skies of the characters, leaving only when forced away by the mental efforts of the characters. The focus on the characters tend to shift, as different people come in and out of mental and emotional dominance.
“Think how you love me," she whispered. "I don't ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside me there will always be the person I am to-night."
Fitzgerald has a keen insight into the world that most of us believe is possible, but shows a strong sense of realism when he ultimately shows that our dreams will seldom ever be personified. (Sound like Gatsby and Daisy to any one?)

The main focus at the end of the novel shows how a character who once was deemed as the least promising in the novel, gains redemption by taking charge of their own actions and overcoming the ties of life and love that have previously held them back. On the other side of that, Fitzgerald shows us that if we succumb to these ties that bind, we will inevitably lose ourselves in the process… becoming reluctant spectators of our unfulfilled dreams.
“ was as if for the remainder of his life he was condemned to carry with him the egos of certain people, early met and early loved, and to be only as complete as they were complete themselves. There was an element of loneliness involved--so easy to be loved--so hard to love.”
Overall this novel is a beautiful, but at times slow read. Fitzgerald is at the top of his game though in both style and character development. If you don’t believe me, just look at the amount of highlighted sections that my book now suffers from. If you ever were, or plan to be a fan of Fitzgerald… you need to read this book.



  1. One day, I will get around to reading something by Fitzgerald. It seems that somewhere in high school or college, they would have made me read him, but no...

  2. This is one of the first novels I read in english, and I can't help but feel to I missed on a lot of details Fitzgerald was implying... I need to read it again!

  3. @ Amanda - Ha really no Fitzgerald ever?! That is so suprising. I actually had read Gatsby twice in High school You owuld think that maybe they would plan that out better amongst grades haha.

    @ Young. Wow that is pretty impressive since it isn't the easiest book in the world to get through. Yea there are so many small, beautiful passages that I really enjoyed. I put a lot up in the 'Favorite Quotes' section, but that i probably only half of my high lights haha.

  4. "Fitzgerald has a keen insight into the world that most of us believe is possible, but shows a strong sense of realism when he ultimately shows that our dreams will seldom ever be personified. (Sound like Gatsby and Daisy to any one?)"

    Romance vs. Realism is a theme that runs heavily through all of Fitz's work-- and many of the modernist authors. It's funny though, I have just done my review of "This Side of Paradise" (his first published novel) at, and it seems that after reading your review of his last novel, he was never able to strike a healthy balance between the two, even though he clearly recognizes the conflict.

    And I don't think it's just Fitz projecting into his characters something he sees going on around him either-- we all know that his own life reflected similar problems.

    I think he was just one of those people who was addicted to romance-- literally a "hopeless romantic."

  5. Hey Hagrid, thanks once again for the great comment.

    I would have to agree with you that Fitz was indeed a hopeless romantic. I do think however in this work he comes the closest to being at peace with that fact, and shows his realization that the only way to begin to reach real happiness, is in trusting yourself and your actions. The only character to get any sort of redemption, does so right in the end, and only by their seemingly impossible ability to stand on their own 2 feet.

    I do believe that while it is tragic in his case that he seemed to almost want to believe that the 'perfect love' exists, that he still want's the reader to take his own efforts with a grain of salt. In the end he wants the readers to both understand that the true love is out there, but you have to be perfect with your inner self before it can be achieved. Sadly for Fitz, he never made it there.

  6. "In the end he wants the readers to both understand that the true love is out there, but you have to be perfect with your inner self before it can be achieved. "

    This is a key concept in Jungian Literary criticism-- the anima which is usually represented as a soul mate can only be realized when the shadow or inner demons are expunged. Really, being "perfect with your inner self" is the whole name of the game (for Jung). It's more about an inner love than an external one-- another theme that runs throughout Fitz's work; materialism vs. some sort of inner spirituality.

    I just got my copy of "Tender is the Night" and can't wait to dive into it.

  7. Hi Guys :D
    I just wanted to pop over and wish you both a super fun-filled and Happy 4th of July!

  8. I grabbed The Great Gatsby in my parent's bookshelf when I was 11, didn't understand a thing, of course, and had made myself allergic to Fitzgerald... until last november, when I finally read Tender is the Night and fell under the charm. Love your review!

  9. Everywhere I turn, people are talking about your blog...

  10. Chic- Thanks so much! Hope your weekend was great as well.

    Julie- Thanks so much. Yea I can understand that happening, the same thing happen with me and Vonnegut back in the day. For some reason when I was young Slaughter-house 5, and now one of Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers.

    DSW- thanks so much... wish I could say I saw the same haha but glad that you seem to like it!

  11. I liked the first half of this book (especially the evocative descriptions of the French Riveria) but the second half bored me. I love Fitzgerald (you should check out his short stories in Babylon Revisited) so maybe I'll give this one another try some day.

  12. I completely agree about the first half being better. I get that the 2nd 'book' was essential to the story... but for half of that I was fighting the urge to skim through some things. But the 3rd part really picks up again, and it only got there because of the background information.

    I will have to check out those short stories sometime. I love his writing style so much.


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