Graphic Novel Review

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel AdaptationThe Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald, K. Woodman-Maynard
Publisher: Candlewick Press
First Published: January 1, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 240
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Review Request

four-stars
Synopsis:

From the green light across the bay to the billboard with spectacled eyes, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 American masterpiece roars to life in Katharine Woodman-Maynard’s exquisite graphic novel—among the first adaptations of the book in this genre. Painted in lush watercolors, the inventive interpretation emphasizes both the extravagance and mystery of the characters, as well as the fluidity of Nick Carraway’s unreliable narration. Excerpts from the original text wend through the illustrations, and imagery and metaphors are taken to literal, and often whimsical, extremes, such as when a beautiful partygoer blooms into an orchid and Daisy Buchanan pushes Gatsby across the sky on a cloud.

This faithful yet modern adaptation will appeal to fans with deep knowledge of the classic, while the graphic novel format makes it an ideal teaching tool to engage students. With its timeless critique of class, power, and obsession, The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel captures the energy of an era and the enduring resonance of one of the world’s most beloved books.

A sumptuously illustrated adaptation casts the powerful imagery of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel in a vivid new format.


My Thoughts

The Great Gatsby is one of the classics that I somehow missed in high school, and though it is well-loved it was one that I never felt compelled to read. Maybe I just wasn’t that interested in the roaring twenties, but there was nothing about the various descriptions that I had read that pulled me in. I even skipped the film adaptations, I just can’t explain why I had no interest in this story.

Despite that, when I was offered the opportunity to read a graphic novel adaptation, and my husband expressed to me how much he enjoyed the novel, I decided to give it a try. Heavens how wrong I was to skip over this story for so long! I ended up flying through the graphic novel, I ate up the story and immediately ordered a copy of the novel as soon as I finished.

“She was appalled by West Egg⁠—appalled by the two obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a shortcut from nothing to nothing.”

Since this is an adaptation of a piece of classical literature, I will not comment on the story itself since I have yet to read the novel. However, I do want to cover how well this graphic novel does at adapting the story.

The art is excellent, it reminds me of older drawing styles that is fitting for the time period. The pages are beautifully watercolored and are bursting with fun details and color, Gatsby’s parties look whimsical and wild. Where the adaptation suffers is in the format itself, where much of the story is shown to us in pictures instead of told through narrative. There is some dialogue to carry the story, and random blocks of narration, while artfully placed in the background, make the story feel like there are some holes. It makes the reading experience feel a bit like an abbreviated version of the story, showing the major events like a storyboard without any of the detail in between.

Despite this, I feel that a graphic novel adaptation is great because it introduces a wide audience to classic literature in a way that is easy to digest. It helped an uninterested reader like me to take an interest in reading the original work and that I feel is the major goal of any adaptation. In all, I’m thankful to this graphic novel for expanding my horizons, and it is one that I would gladly recommend.


Warnings: mild violence


About F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled “Lost Generation,” Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfinished, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age. He was married to Zelda Fitzgerald.

About K. Woodman-Maynard

K. Woodman-Maynard is a graphic novelist and graphic designer who works in a combination of digital and traditional mediums. She is co-creator of TKAMI: Talk to Kids About Mental Illness (TKAMI.org), a resource for helping adults talk to kids about mental illness through comics.

K. Woodman-Maynard studied animation at Harvard and worked as an animator in San Francisco before moving into comics and design. The Great Gatsby is her debut graphic novel.

She’s a native of Minnesota and lives in New Hampshire with her husband and cat. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and hit the trails by ski or foot.

Jamie

I’m a Filipino American blogger, historian, and lazy writer. I enjoy books, video games, anime/manga, and smoking hookah.

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