Friday, August 11, 2017

TENDER IS THE NIGHT BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD - BOOK REVIEW

This having been my third book by Fitzgerald, I thought I would enjoy it as much as I did another of his books, specifically, This Side of Paradise. I was surprised by how little I actually enjoyed this book, but there was a part of me that couldn't put this one down, for whatever reason.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


The story follows a group of people, our primary characters being Rosemary, an up and coming actress who while on vacation falls madly in love with Dick Diver, another of the characters. His wife, Nicole rounds out the story, along with a collection of other secondary characters. I don't think I will really give much of a synopsis for this one, mainly because there wasn't a lot that happened, outside of everyday life.

Personally, I haven't read much about Fitzgerald's personal life, I do, however, know that this is one of his more autobiographical novels, relating to his own marital problems and his wife's own mental health issues. I found this really intriguing and the whole time I was reading this book I felt as though Fitzgerald was speaking very much from experience on many points throughout the book.

I also found the inclusion of mental illness, particularly Schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder (I'm not actually sure which was more prevalent, it was often referred to in the French SchizophreniƩ), very interesting. I am used to reading about mental illnesses in more modern contemporaries, not so much in more historical novels. I also found it really interesting that the characters very much acknowledged Nicole's illness as an illness, as it should be, but compared to modern day, there is still such a stigma surrounding mental illness.

Another reviewer pointed it out, but I'm sure if you know enough about Fitzgerald's personal life, you would also know that this book was written after his marriage and wife's own nervous breakdown. This was the last book that was published before The Love of the Last Tycoon, which was published posthumously. Comparing this to some of his early works, The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise, you'll get a very different feeling. Those books felt so much more hopeful, capturing the Roaring Twenties in all its glory before Fitzgerald's own personal issues peaked. This later novel is darker and, I found, more pessimistic than the others.

I guess this is less a review and more of a commentary on Fitzgerald's writing. I am hoping to pick up The Beautiful and Damned as well before the end of the summer and I am hoping that it is more optimistic.

I think this is one of those books that you pick up because of the author or maybe the storyline, but not because of the writing. I found the layout of the book tricky to follow. It's divided into three 'books,' the first beginning with Rosemary, the second going back and telling the story of how Dick and Nicole met, and the third picking up where the first left off. It felt disjointed to me and a little confusing.

Overall, not one of my favourites from Fitzgerald, but an interesting comparison with some of his earlier works.