Is Great Gatsby suitable for v good 11 year old reader?

(39 Posts)
pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 18:41:45

I read years ago and can't remember a thing about it except the green light and the optometrist poster.

If consensus is 'yes' I'll reread before giving to her.

lalalonglegs Sun 08-Sep-13 19:06:57

The sex is alluded to (Tom is having an affair - Gatsby and Daisy obviously start a relationship) but there is nothing explicit. There isn't much in the way of violence (shockingly Tom breaks his mistress's nose, she is later run over) and overall it's a very proper little morality tale. I'm not sure that most 11 year olds, no matter how sophisticated their reading age, would actually enjoy it that much. Perhaps try a classic with more children in it - To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies or some such?

Trills Sun 08-Sep-13 19:09:34

I found it terribly dull, and I'm a very good 29 year old reader.

Sirzy Sun 08-Sep-13 19:11:53

I cant see it being a book they would enjoy TBH.

I agree with the suggestion of to kill a mockingbird.

nkf Sun 08-Sep-13 19:13:12

What is it you don't want her to read about?

I can't see many 11 year ods getting much at all out of it tbh. The description of Myrtle's body is pretty graphic but I imagine that nearly every 11 year old would've given up in boredom far before then.

Is there a reason you/she are considering it? What does she normally like?

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 20:22:39

She's asked to read it. She's just read Little Women, the Uglies series and Alice through the looking glass, and lots of John Greene.

My real concern is she'd find it slow and way above her head.

lalalonglegs Sun 08-Sep-13 20:29:19

I think shr would. It's a very adult book in its ambitions and ideas - the books you have mentioned were all written for children. GG won't do her any harm soblet her haveca go if she wants but, as I said earlier, she'll probably find it quite dull.

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 20:37:42

Thanks for all the comments by the way

QueenBoudicea Sun 08-Sep-13 20:38:32

I remember reading it at school when I was 13 - can't remember too much of the detail though blush

rootypig Sun 08-Sep-13 20:42:27

Way above her head, yes. What about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? And yy To Kill a Mockingbird.

I think you're right.

Is there a particular reason why she's asking to read it?

Dd1 devoured this series aged ten/eleven. Some of the themes are a bit adult but they are really gripping and well written.

SunnyIntervals Sun 08-Sep-13 20:45:12

I think it is a bit turgid but sections have a feeling of menace and the violence is a bit graphic. Would steer on to something else.

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 20:51:38

I think probably the film has captured her imagination ( she hasn't seen it but has seen trailers, pics etc),

She's read all the Philip Pullman. Haven't seen that series tho Remus.

She doesn't have any problems finding things to read - just wondering about this particular book she's shown an interest in and from my experience with her older brother I do want to encourage stepping up to adult fiction if appropriate abd if it will engage her. When I was a kid there was no such thing as teen fiction.

Romann Sun 08-Sep-13 20:51:50

My 11 yo is v engrossed in "hunger games" trilogy at the moment. I am meaning to read them myself so we can discuss the political themes, so it's not just a violence-fest. He's pretty mature so I'm not too worried. He's not allowed to watch the film though.

Astr0naut Sun 08-Sep-13 20:55:55

Dull. I had to read it at 21 and it did nothing for me. At 30, I found a lot more in it, but it's mainly about disappointment and the disintegration of the AMerican Dream, and I'm not sure 11 year olds are up for that. Sixth formers certainly aren't!

CircassianLeyla Sun 08-Sep-13 20:56:47

I read it recently and think it is quite dull. I just can't imagine an 11 yr old engaging in it to be honest.

To Kill a Mockingbird is however, absolutely incredible and I re-read it all the time.

nkf Sun 08-Sep-13 21:05:17

I'm pretty much in the let them read what they want camp.

CremeEggThief Sun 08-Sep-13 21:10:31

I enjoyed it when I read it at 14, but 11 may be a bit young. Let her give it a go anyway.

notnowImreading Sun 08-Sep-13 21:12:53

If she's a good reader and picking up on the 1920s, she might like Jeeves and Wooster books or (1930s) Rebecca. I read Rebecca 23 times between 11 and 13. I was obsessed! Both much more easily graspable than Gatsby.

Alternatively, Agatha Christie is good fun for a period feel and there are many many many so she can devour her way through them for at least a couple of years if she likes them.

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 21:13:22

I might actually reread it as am a bit horrified how little I remember.

Can it really before turgid than catcher in the eye which I loved around dd's age. Altho accept is v different book!

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 21:13:52

Rye! Obv not eye. On eye phone

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 21:15:09

Oooooh Rebecca that's a great idea! She loves old films so might watch it first.

Yes to Agatha Christie. Maybe Georgette Heyer too. Both much more likely to appeal than Gatsby imho.

pollycazalet Sun 08-Sep-13 21:19:54

I read loads of georgette heyer at a similar age and, having reread recently, not sure dd would go for it.

CircassianLeyla Sun 08-Sep-13 21:44:23

Agatha Christie - yes to Agatha Christie. Dies she like books (as in not e readers)? Some of the 1950s-1980s covers are awesome to collect and really cheap in book stalls, charity shops and Amazon.

vaticancameo Sun 08-Sep-13 21:51:55

A few off the top of my head that I loved at that age:
The Sherlock Holmes stories
Black Beauty
Anne of Green Gables
Jane Eyre
James Herriot's books
My Family and Other Animals
Anything by Michelle Magorian

Anything there she might like?

Romann Mon 09-Sep-13 20:52:42

I read Jane Eyre over and over again when I was 11, I'd forgotten! I also loved Pride and Prejudice and the rest of Austen.

Mhw02 Wed 11-Sep-13 17:03:47

Agree with those who say regardless of whether it's suitable or not, there are better books. I happily read the thousand-odd pages of Les Miserables, and The Crimson Petal and the White. The hundred-odd pages of The Great Gatsby, on the other hand, I struggled to finish, it was SO dull, and I didn't like the writing style at all. I was talking to my brother about it and he said, for all it's considered a classic, he has yet to speak to anyone who actually enjoyed it.

Agree with everyone who said To Kill A Mocking Bird is far more worth the read.

Noteveryday Wed 11-Sep-13 17:10:31

Gatsby book is really really boring. What about all the Daphne du Maurier books, a lot of young girls love all that (slightly unsuitable but not very) dramatics (Rebecca, Jamaica Inn I remember enjoying).

Yes to Mockingbird and some of the John Steinbeck books are good for that age if she likes American stuff (don't know if you'd consider suitable cos its sad but Of Mice and Men is v readable). Also slightly out of fashion now but John Irving (e.g. A Prayer for Owen Meaney, probably too young for Cider House Rules) is good but sad for young people as well.

Owen Meaney has lots of sex and is pretty boring. I don't think it would have much appeal for an 11 year old, personally.
Steinbecks's The Pearl and The Red Pony would probably appeal.

Noteveryday Wed 11-Sep-13 17:40:18

Ha how did I forget the sex - sorry OP!

ButThereAgain Wed 11-Sep-13 17:41:35

I don't think there is anything unsuitable about this book, no content to be apprehensive of. Is that what the question means? Beyond that, surely it is up to her. If she picks it up and likes it, then it is suitable, if she doesn't it isn't.

If the question reflects uncertainty about spending money on a book she might not like, then I'd say don't buy it: its an elegant, intriguing sort of book but not exactly an exciting read. A lot of the appeal is in the quiet limpidness of the prose, not usually a hot selling point among eleven year olds.

I never really understand questions about suitability of books for a given age (unless it is an anxiety about disturbing content). Each child is different in abilities and taste and the only proof of the pudding is in the eating.

nkf Wed 11-Sep-13 18:18:23

I don't think Gatsby is unsuitable for an eleven year old. Just wasted on them.

EnjoyEverySandwich Fri 13-Sep-13 22:26:04

I'd let her read anything she fancied. I did at 11, and my mother never banned anything. I read my way through all the James Bond books at that age - my father had died after a long stay in hospital and they had been his hospital reading.

Not recommending those particularly grin just saying that I certainly didn't need children to feature in a book to retain my interest.

She needn't finish a book she isn't enjoying. That's a habit best formed when young, it will save her a lot of wasted time.

exoticfruits Fri 13-Sep-13 22:30:34

I would just let her- I think that she would most likely to give up on it because I agree with nkf. I just had a library ticket at that age and read anything.

Lagoonablue Fri 13-Sep-13 22:33:35

I too read Bond at that age!

Catcher In the Rye and Mocking Bird and Jane Eyre seconded.

I love Gatsby but wouldn't have at 11.

qazxc Sun 15-Sep-13 14:40:00

If she's keen to read it, let her. There's nothing in there unsuitable really, it's just as others have said that she'll probably find quite dull, but let her find it out for herself.

rosabud Sun 15-Sep-13 23:31:10

I don't fine Gatsby dull, it's one of my favourite books of all time. I don't think an 11 year old would really get it but sometimes, at that age, the rhythm of the language is what captivates rather than the plot etc

Has anyone esle read one of his short stories, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz? I read that at a young age and the style of the writing as well as the imaginative plot embedded itself forever in my consciousness Have not ever managed to meet anyone else who has read it!

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