Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Author - F. Scott Fitzgerald


In 1860 Benjamin Button is born an old man and mysteriously begins aging backward. At the beginning of his life he is withered and worn, but as he continues to grow younger he embraces life -- he goes to war, runs a business, falls in love, has children, goes to college and prep school, and, as his mind begins to devolve, he attends kindergarten and eventually returns to the care of his nurse.


I am not sure what I thought of this book, if it could be described as a book since it is such a short book. It is one of those books that you read with so much expectation because of the romanticised dramatization of the Hollywood reproduction so I was surprised to see that while the basic idea was the same, it might as well have been two different books.

F. Scott Fitzgerald writes a frank and completely unromaticised. It gives an account of Benjamin who is forced in to complying social convention from the moment he was born as an old man to the day he was too young to understand that he was alive. You see Benjamin lived his life in the opposite order, born as a 5 feet 8 old man; the physics of which I hesitate to think about, Benjamin grows younger every day.

At twenty and with a face of a fifty something year old, he marries young and beautiful Hildegard who defies social convention to marry what she though was a fifty year old man but as time grows and Benjamin becomes younger, he grows bored of his wife. So it should go unsaid that I pretty much lost respect for Mr Button from this point on until the day that his son disrespects him enough to get my sympathy.

This book despite being rather cold and factual was surprisingly enjoyable, even if Benji turned out to be a bit of an ass rather than an eternal romantic but I suppose that does reflect the realism of what would happen rather than trapping us in a sudoromantic idea of a every de-ageing young man, shackled with his ageing wife.

Before I complete this review I have to do a quick movie comparison. Despite my usual cynicism towards Hollywood productions, this time I must give credit to the creators who took it from F. Scott Fitzgerald and gave it a body and life.

Overall it is a very quick and fun story, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for telling a realistic story of human nature set in an unrealistic premise.

Product Detail
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Scribner
Language: English

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