Banned Books Week is September 25th through October 1st. This week is important because it reminds us of how fortunate we are in Montgomery County to have a strong and vibrant library system with access to a collection of abundant and diverse materials. We recently sat down with a famous banned book for a quick chat.
Q – Good evening, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A – Thank you for having me. My title is The Great Gatsby. My author is F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was published in 1925, and the story I tell takes place over the summer of 1922. The jazz age was in full bloom. Extravagance was everywhere. Extravagant homes, parties, dress, lifestyles, I reflect it all. Themes I touch on include materialism, class, morality, decay, violence, gender roles, and the American Dream. My main characters are Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire, still pining for his now married ex-love; diaphanous Daisy Buchanan, the object of Gatsby’s affections; Daisy’s brutish, wealthy husband Tom; and the morally ambiguous professional golfer Jordan Baker.
What really sets me apart though, I believe, is my fluid, beautiful, buttery prose. Fitzgerald was definitely at the pinnacle of his game. I think I might be somewhat of an acquired taste though. When I was first published, I didn’t really cause much of a stir and my sales were tepid. After Fitzgerald died, though, that’s when I experienced my resurgence. I maintain my exalted status as a literary classic to this day.
Q – Why were you banned?
A – Well, officially the reason given was for language and sexual references. By today’s standards I really am fairly tame. And actually, the year I was banned was 1987. I was tame for 1987, too. So I think it’s something else that makes me controversial. I believe it has to do with the elegant, surgically precise way I expose human failings and hypocrisies. I believe it has to do with my absolute honesty in showing my characters’ true natures and therefore flaws. The truth of the matter is I’m proud of the ban and wear it as a badge of honor.
Q – Thank you for speaking with us today.
A – The pleasure was all mine.