Since January, I’ve been lucky enough to meet with this fabulous group of women for a monthly book club.
When news of Baz Luhrmann’s film version of “The Great Gatsby” started really making headlines earlier this year, we knew we wanted to pay tribute to the classic novel. And so, we read (and re-read) the book in April, then met for a day-out this past Sunday, complete with brunch at The Coterie Room and a matinee showing of the film at The Big Picture. It was a lovely day, complete with a bit of “Gatsby” discussion, laughter, gossip, flower headbands and mimosas. Lots of mimosas.
I finally gave myself a second to reflect on this new film version of the story on my way to work this morning, and was reminded of how dark the story of “Gatsby” really is (the sweet haze of champagne made everything seem happier yesterday). Masked by the extravagant, colorful lifestyle the characters lead (If you haven’t yet seen the movie, then check out the trailer. Don’t you just want to have a party after watching? I mean, seriously.), there really is a sense of longing you feel from each character, as if they’re searching for something to hold on to in the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of their world. I thought the actors did a stellar job in portraying this. And, while the themes in Gatsby — the American dream, the hollowness of the upper class, American society as a moral wasteland — aren’t necessarily “new,” they still give readers — and viewers — lots to think about.
At the end of every book club meeting, I always pose the question, “What are you taking away from this read?” Was your life changed at all by the characters in this story? The decisions they make? Their course in history? I’m still “taking away” from Gatsby, but I can relate. Daily life speeds by quite fast, often without me realizing it. I find myself constantly making an effort to find something lasting to grasp on to — small things, like starting this book club, for example. Things that I hope will grant clarity and give a deeper meaning to my life. So, just like Gatsby, we can all “keep going on.”