Celebrity Book Reviews: Donald on Scott

Celebrity Book Reviews: Donald on Scott

Books by F. Scott Fitzgerald discussed in this article:
The Great Gatsby (1925)
The Last Tycoon (1941)
The Crack-Up (1945)

There’s the Bible—I love the Bible, right, I mean I am the most religious person, I won the evangelicals —and,  The Art of the Deal. (Which, don’t believe everything you read, I completely wrote.) But really, there are so many books I’m attracted to. So many. It’s incredible. I was so successful at such a young age, I’ve never had a lot of free time, but if I had I probably would have written more books myself. A LOT more books, believe me.  And so many of them would be best sellers. The best-seller list would be filled with them.

But one of the most attractive books in history, a colossal best seller, everybody knows this, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Really successful book, believe me. Why F.? I put my initial in the middle, I think it’s more normal that way, but everybody has his own style.

But The Great Gatsby, with a hero everybody can identify with, a fabulously successful businessman, of immigrant stock. Swedish, I guess, or maybe German. They changed the name so that people would be able to pronounce it in America. Once upon a time immigrants were like that. A little thing called assimilation. Redford wanted to play him in the movie version, that’s how insanely popular the book was. In one movie version, because there were several. Some have said I look a little like Redford. I don’t know, you’ll have to judge for yourself, but that’s what some actually a lot of top people-comparing people have said. THAT I can tell you.

The book begins, actually, before the title page. With a dedication, “ONCE AGAIN TO ZELDA”. That was his wife. Zelda. Odd name, right? Odd girl. Why he had to dedicate it to her more than once I’ll never understand. You’d think you dedicate a book once, it stays dedicated, but no, he had to dedicate it to her again. Although just so you know, I have no problem with him dedicating to a woman. I love women. Women love me. I’m great for women, okay?

The story itself starts after the title, as you would expect, with the statement by the narrator, “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” You need to take a deep breath for a sentence like that. Even when you read it silently to yourself, which is what I usually do. But it’s worth it. It will grab you immediately. It is so full of significance and depth. My own father gave me lots of valuable advice, as well as credit at a very fair rate of interest. I won’t tell you what his advice was. If I did, you’d probably end up as successful as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I want everybody to be successful, but they don’t need to be that successful. Do I make myself clear? Besides, my father gave it to me. It’s my advice. My advice to you is, get your own father, and your own advice. Because that’s how I did it, and you can see how successful I am.

In any case, as I was saying, I don’t have a heck of a lot of time to read. Fortunately I have a fabulous staff. They’d better be fabulous for what I pay them. Even the household staff. I import them on special visas from Romania. So I can be sure they’re clean, and won’t get pregnant, and not be smoking that ganja on the job. And it works. Believe me, I love the Romanians. And they love me. You might find yourself thinking, “Aren’t they the same as Romans?” but they’re not. It’s a common mistake, and we all make it, but they’re two different peoples.

But my business staff is even more incredible than that. To be honest it’s almost ridiculous how hard they work. Even reading books on their off hours, if you can believe that. This is how I became so big on Twitter, for instance. That stuff takes research like you wouldn’t believe. So I write all my own Tweets, obviously, my style is not easily copied, but they help with the research. I love my people.

So what they tell me, this Gatsby character, he is not only amazingly rich and handsome, he is like the king of Long Island, of this place that is like the Hamptons, but apparently on the North Shore, because it’s fiction. Like the Hamptons back in the day, before the media and publishing people took over. Back in the day is when the story takes place, if that’s not clear. It’s what they call the Jazz Age, and Gatsby is the king. He throws the most amazing parties—amazing. For very prominent people, and surrounded by beautiful women, obviously. And yet, even for being the Jazz King, he has a soft and generous heart.

This man is in love, and the woman he loves loves him back, but she is unfortunately married. To another extremely rich man.  It’s a very tense situation! And what happens in the end you cannot believe: Gatsby dies! He gets shot by a jealous husband, and the guy is not even his girlfriend’s husband! The husband’s girlfriend, the girlfriend of his girlfriend’s husband, her husband shoots not the guy who is banging his wife but he shoots Gatsby instead! And that’s just not right. I don’t personally think the book should end at that juncture. I think the book shouldn’t end until we find out just what’s going on.

I’m sorry I have to put it this way but the author has shown extremely poor judgment in this whole thing. I understand that he has incredible talent but this was a big mistake. You don’t kill a character who has everything going for him like this. It doesn’t make any sense. And the women—they get away with everything. I know, it’s like in real life, but still. That doesn’t make it right.

And in my belief he paid for it too.  Scott F. Fitzgerald, the author. He paid for that mistake. Yes, the book sold very well, but it was his last really big success. I think people must have read it, and been compelled as I was by the advice the narrator’s father gave him, and then when Gatsby died they were so disappointed. They said, “I loved that character, why did he have to die?” They never wanted to see another book by Fitzgerald. He had shot his wad, to tell the truth. This happens. Not with me, but with other individuals.

And so the rest of his life was not a pretty picture. He drank too much, his wife went nuts. He himself cracked up, literally. He wrote a book about that, too. He called it The Crack-Up, not exactly subtle about it. Should he have called it The Art of the Crack-Up? Maybe. That’s not for me to say.

But in the end I think he understood where he had gone wrong. Because he was in Hollywood, working in the entertainment industry, and he was writing another book about an amazingly gifted businessman. Appropriately enough, he called it The Last Tycoon. It’s set in Hollywood and the hero is an executive, a studio head, the biggest guy in the business, spectacular. Based on the life of what’s his name, the famous producer.

But this guy didn’t die. Instead, F. Scott Fitzgerald himself died! In real life, he died. Can you follow this? I know I can, but maybe you’re having trouble. Anyway, he didn’t even finish writing the book! This is what literary people refer to as irony. The irony of fate. You can’t make stuff like that up.