Sunday Salon: Short Story Focus

The Sunday
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Yes, Sunday Salon is back! This Sunday, I thought I'd focus on a genre I enjoy, but haven't reviewed much of- the short story. After watching the movie (watch out for the review on Monday), I thought I'd read the story. I liked it, and I look forward to reading more Fitzgerald.

The story focuses on Benjamin Button, born as a wizened old man. It follows his "childhood" at the Button household, his adult life as a businessman and then a soldier, and his "old age" as a Harvard footballer. Don't expect any of the drama of the movie; Benjamin is neither abandoned by his father nor does he have an epic romance with Daisy, but his story is gripping anyways. Fitzgerald is witty as he paints the picture of this man aging backwards; there were touches of Oscar Wilde in the telling.

A few people who were unfailingly polite racked their brains for compliments to give to the parents--and finally hit upon the ingenious device of declaring that the baby resembled his grandfather, a fact which, due to the standard state of decay common to all men of seventy, could not be denied. Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button were not pleased, and Benjamin's grandfather was furiously insulted.

But there was an underlying sense of pathos to the whole story. Benjamin desperately tries to live a full life, even as others look at him in pity and disgust. He doesn't really have anyone close to him, someone he can speak to regarding this condition he cannot control. His father, wife and son believe that it is somehow his fault he ages backwards, and that he should just give up the tomfoolery and be normal again, so that their reputation remains intact; their callous attitude enrages you. Fitzgerald has us empathize with the character, and draws us into Ben's world. I liked this story a lot, and I enjoyed Fitzgerald's style of writing and his ability to connect with the reader.

And here are this week's giveaways:
The Eclectic Reader is giving away Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins or Fire by Kristin Cashore till September 30
Alaine-Queen of Happy Endings is giving away Fire by Kristin Cashore or Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger till September 30
Wrighty's Reads is giving away one copy each of Cleopatra's Daughter and Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran till September 10
Peeking Between the Pages is also giving away one copy of Cleopatra's Daughter till September 10

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6 Responses
  1. Nymeth Says:

    I really want to read this story, but I've been told it's actually better to watch the movie first. What do you think?

  2. JoAnn Says:

    I love the Fitzgerald novels I've read, but have yet to read his short stories. That needs to change soon! I've heard mixed reviews of the movie...will be back tomorrow to read yours.

  3. Hazra Says:

    @ Nymeth: I thought that the movie incorporated just the bare basics of the short story, namely, the reverse aging process. To me, the story and the movie were two different things with the same idea, so it doesn't make a difference. I would say, read the story if it will take you some time to watch the movie.
    @JoAnn: This is the first work of Fitzgerald I've read, so looking forward to reading more.

  4. Andreea Says:

    Hey Hazra, thanks for stopping by my blog. I like your blog and I will come again.

  5. debnance Says:

    This is oddly coincidental, but I also read Benjamin Button this week. I've been buying and reading the books in the Wonderfully Illustrated Short Pieces series. I was quite taken with it.

  6. Eva Says:

    It sounds like the story is different from the movie! I've read other Fitzgerald short stories and really enjoyed them. :)

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