The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a review

Thursday_horizons

Another Thursday, another review, but my brain won’t co-operate. Not because I don’t know what to review, but because I’m uninspired.

At the end of April, I posted Z is for Zelda which included the information that F Scott Fitzgerald’s wife was called Zelda. When I admitted that I’d never read any Fitzgerald, one well-read follower suggested The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as a great start to discovering him – thanks, Heather Erickson.

This review will be shorter as this is a short story.

Benjamin Button 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today, F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for his novels, but in his lifetime, his fame stemmed from his prolific achievement as one of America’s most gifted story writers. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a witty and fantastical satire about ageing, is one of his most memorable stories.

In 1860 Benjamin Button is born an old man and mysteriously begins ageing backwards. 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.

This strange and haunting story embodies the sharp social insight that has made Fitzgerald one of the great voices in the history of American literature.

Review 4.3 stars

This cleverly crafted short story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain’s that, “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”

Ageing backwards has its advantages, and Fitzgerald explores various elements of such a life, Benjamin Button’s, showing how the happiness is balanced with frustration and misunderstanding – disadvantages. He weaves humorous moments alongside poignant ones creating a satirical commentary on society’s response to growing up, ageing, appearances and abilities.

The language may feel dated, and the social standing of the Buttons may seem alien to many, yet the attitudes and expectations of people around Benjamin ring true today.

Have our attitudes really progressed? A quick but thought-inspiring read from a master craftsman.

Story – four stars

Setting/World-building – five stars

Authenticity – four stars

Characters – five stars

Structure – four stars

Readability – four stars

Editing – four stars

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a review

  1. Interesting… I must read that book. I was introduced to F.Scott Fitzgerald recently by someone who gave me a copy of The Great Gatsby when I shame-facedly confessed I’d never read it! Cant say I was overly impressed, but Benjhamin Button sounds more promising.

    Liked by 1 person

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