If you grew up going to public school in America, or love Leo, then Fitzgerald should be familiar. But that was Gatsby, most people don’t know Dick Diver.
I myself had never read any Fitzgerald besides Gatsby until now. But this was at the library and I read a quote on Pinterest about enriching yourself so here we are. And what a bizarre place to be. Fitzgerald is an exceptional writer (wow Allison, real original) but it was the story I had some issues with. And by some, I mean many.
Tender is the Night. Rosemary is a young American actress whose vacationing in Europe with her mother when she meets a fun group of people on the beach. She instantly falls in love with Dick Diver, married/father of two, and can’t bear to live without him. She tells him, repeatedly, but he dismisses her as a silly young woman. Which makes some sense, she was 18.
Then we spend an extraordinary amount of time learning about Dick and his life up to this point. He was trained as a psychologist at Yale and his current wife, Nicole, was a patient at his clinic in Vienna for rich people. His whole life has been half attempts at writing a ground breaking book (never completed), traveling around Europe drinking on his wife’s family money, and doing whatever he wants.
Like eventually hooking up with Rosemary. His life starts to unravel, more drinking, more unraveling, and finally SPOILER ALERT he moves to America alone. But it’s cool, because by Nicole asking for a divorce so she can marry another dude, he helped cure her right?
Can you tell how I feel about this one? I never was any good at poker.
Like I said, it was beautifully written, and some of the characters were really interesting. But my gosh, it felt like an exercise in extreme indulgence. Rich white people running around Europe, dealing with issues mostly created by themselves. That’s not always the case, Dick’s wife really did have to deal with abuse as a child, but generally it was a bunch of first world problems.
So I’m torn. I appreciate Fitzgerald’s style and mastery of language. But that plot progression was rough. Maybe there’s some large symbolism that I missed, but I’ll probably have to read Beautiful and The Damned before I become president of the Fitz fan club.