The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel

by F. Scott Fitzgerald & Fred Fordham; Illustrations by Aya Morton

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: A-

Graphic novels are not something I naturally gravitate to, but The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel is a novel approach to the classic story. This tragic story has captivated audiences for decades – there are multiple screen adaptations that have ensured that audiences are able to get their fill of Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy. With an increasing popularity in graphic novels, though, it was time that this Fitzgerald classic got its moment in the spotlight again. Enter The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel – it stays true to the original text, removing very little from the story, but illustrates the classic in a way that ensures nothing is lost in translation.

Nick Carraway is still the unreliable narrator and the characters are illustrated much as I imagined them in my own mind. The lively parties and dark broody scenes are both given the same level of attention and importance.

Overall, I found this interpretation of Gatsby’s story to be addictive and insightful. It stays true to the essence of Fitzgerald’s classic while bringing it to life visually. Such a great option for reluctant readers, graphic novel fans, or Gatsby addicts of all ages.

Movie Rating: PG

As with the original Gatsby story, there is a bit of language, adultery, and violence. These are treated as matter of fact and are not exaggerated in The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel, but the opulence of the era is highlighted – guns, gowns, and all. By its very nature, The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel is going to appeal to older audiences, but because it is broken down into graphic panes and is cleverly condensed, this might be enticing to – and appropriate for – younger YA fans.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Definitely

Gatsby has remained a popular cultural figure for years with school dances and spirit days celebrating the era’s style and larger-than-life glamour. While most students read this during their junior year in American English courses, I always get students who want to read it to know what it is about, but don’t really want to invest in the whole book. This is a perfect option for these students because this graphic novel retains the intellectual depth while enticing readers with imaginative watercolor images.

Summary:

The Great Gatsby is a classic American novel filled with hope, dreams, and failings. The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel takes the timeless story and brings it to life with vibrant illustrations. The story remains true to the novel with regular narrative from Nick throughout the novel, but takes on a wholly modern appearance with watercolor illustrations in a graphic novel format.

Fred Fordham, how has experience adapting To Kill a Mockingbird into a graphic format, has taken care to tell Fitzgeral’s masterpiece with fideltiy and care, but broadens the appeal of the story by teaming with Aya Morton who illustrates the story in a simultaneously modern and timeless manner. With abundant detail, care, and cleverness, The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel is an ideal read for lovers of the classic and those reading the story for the first time.

Book Talk Questions:

  1. Look at the front and back covers. What is suggested by the cover and how does this relate to key themes in the book? (Hint: Think of classes, priorities, and privilege).
  2. Which of the characters can be trusted? Why can they be trusted (and why can the others not be trusted)?
  3. Choose a page where you think Daisy’s true self is shown. What do the images and text show about her?
  4. Contrast pages 188 to 195 with pages 56 to 65. What do the colors, images, and text suggest about Gatsby and how do the watercolors influence the mood?
  5. Which of the characters seem truly happy? Find a page that supports your thinking (either way).

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel by Harper Lee & Fred Fordham
  • The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
  • Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel by George Orwell and Odyr
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