Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

genre: short story
rating: 4/5

This short story begins as Mr. Roger Button is bustling about Baltimore, waiting for the birth of his first born child. The reception he receives as he arrives at the hospital gives him hints that all is NOT right with his child. And it is a MOST curious case: young Button was born old - as in, beard, watery eyes, wrinkles. OLD. Benjamin, as he's named, prefers cigars over rattles and is more comfortable with his grandfather than other tots.

What's even more interesting is that Benjamin grows young as he gets older - slowly finding an energy he didn't have in his "youth." I think Fitzgerald does a smashing job of showing how challenging Benjamin's life was in different situations - his disillusionment and rejection with his peers and his growth into innocence.

From what I understand, this story a manifestation of the idea that those who came back from the Great War lost all their innocence in the horror of the trenches, essentially being one age on the outside and another age emotionally on the inside. An interesting (and short) character study.

9 comments:

michellekae said...

I loved this story! I have not seen the movie yet but can't wait to. I loved your review!

bermudaonion said...

I've heard good things about this one, but I've heard the movie is totally different from the story.

meg89 said...

I wasn't aware of the WWI reference, maybe I would have liked the story better if I thought of it as an allegory. I went back and read the story after seeing the movie, and it was definitely NOT THE SAME STORY, just the same gimmick (man ages backward). I reviewed the story here: http://literarymenagerie.blogspot.com/2008/12/curious-case-of-benjamin-button-by-f.html

morninglight mama said...

I'm finding myself in the opposite position of the usual book-made-into-movie predicament. I have not read the story, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED the movie... so now I'm not sure I want to change the story in my head by reading the original story- weird, huh?

Leslie saw the movie as well during her trip to see her mom over the holiday, but now we both want to see it again-- wanna come? :)

Trish said...

Have you seen the movie yet? I read this story a few months ago and wondered how the heck they were going to make a movie out of it. Fitzgerald is such a wonderful writer--love how you describe it as a "smashing job."

Corinne said...

Trish - I have not seen the movie yet. I've heard it's really different from the story - more a "loosely" based on, which makes sense given that the short story is 32 pages long :)

Trish said...

Ya--I would think it would have to be loosely based. I LOVE to movie previews for it; maybe I'll try and catch the show this weekend.

coffee said...

Benjamin Button was very Fincher-esque... almost as good as his other stuff if not for some nagging plot holes

Laura said...

I did not know that the story was based on soldiers coming back from WWI--how insightful! The only Fitzgerald work I've read is The Great Gatsby, but I really enjoyed it, so I should read more! Great review!!

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