I adored The Great Gatsby, absolutely loved it, so when I began to read This Side of Paradise I was expecting a similar calibre of novel. I was thoroughly disappointed. Fitzgerald clearly was working out some kinks in his first novel.
The protagonist, Amory Blaine has got to be the least likable character in literature (including all villains). He is pretentious yet self doubting, emotionless yet sensitive. This effect does not create a realistic paradoxical character (because let’s face it, nothing is black and white anymore). No, Amory Blaine is downright inconsistent.
Another annoyance was the intermingling of meaningless poetry which I wished I had skipped over. I will never get back those minutes of my life that I stared with furrowed brow at the mushy, whiny poetry usually written by, you guessed it, Amory Blaine.
Back to Characters: Amory is the only character that I remember at all. The others male were so poorly developed they all mushed together into one huge Princetonian blob. The female characters were a little better, but also tend to meld together. The main distinguishing factors between Amory’s love interests are their haircuts.
Thank God I read The Great Gatsby first because if I had been introduced to Francis Scott with this novel, I would have considered all he wrote a waste of words.