Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book review: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I had been curious about this story for a while..  probably since that Brad Pitt movie came out, though I never did see the movie.  I do like Fitzgerald though, and so...   well, that's all it takes.

I had no idea just how short this was.  As in, I feel weird calling this post a "book review".  I read this on the Serial app, and it was only 4 issues - less than an hour's reading time.  GoodReads called it 64 pages...  so yeah, it is a pretty short story.

But it is quite constructed.  It tells the story of Benjamin Button, who at birth (just before the Civil War), appeared to be about 70 years old.  As he got "older", he looked and felt and was developmentally "younger".  He lives his life in reverse.  It is quite a concept, to be sure, and it plays out well here.  His father is quite horrified when Benjamin is born and is young, but they get along about twenty years later when they pass as brothers.  Benjamin is thrown out of Yale when he tries to enter as a freshman looking like he's 50, but attends Harvard when he looks twenty but is really much older.  Things get awkward between Benjamin and his wife, and then between him and his son.  It is a clever story, and it is really enjoyable to read.

There were just one passage that really started me with its racist tone.  When the father is trying to deal with the idea of a baby boy who is 70 years old, he wishes for a moment that the baby was black so he could sell him at the slave market.  It just seemed to come out of nowhere, but also mentioned that this was a "dark moment" for dear old dad.  I also didn't understand where Benjamin's mother went.  She apparently birthed this child/man, but there is not a single mention of her anywhere.

All in all, I'm still glad I read this.  And if you have an hour to spare, you should go ahead too.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Serial App.  First Published 1922
Approx. 64 pages
Source:  Serial App



The Fictional Reader said...

To be quite honest, I saw your post and was like "F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this?".

I saw the movie in theaters when it was released, and it was so boring I nearly fell asleep. Now I can see why, as I also didn't like The Great Gatsby :D

Great review though! I had no idea it was so short? You liked it, so maybe I should give the author another try?

Elizabeth Amos said...

I've never been able to get past the idea of how a baby/old man was born. I guess I should read it and find out, haha.

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