The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Collins Design Wisps)If you've watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but haven't read the book, well, you're in for a surprise. Because the book upon which it is based is a totally different story. There is no romantic Somewhere in Time-like saga love story and I seriously doubt that Benjamin Button looked as strapping Brad Pitt did in the prime of his life. Oh, and Daisy isn't anywhere near as hyped nor as engaging as in the movie.

I decided to read this because: Once again, I found out that the movie was based (ok, very loosely) on a book. And it's a classic. So I decided to find out if the movie did the book justice.

First line: As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home.

The book in one sentence: This is about the curious case of Benjamin Button who is born an old man and lives his life in reverse.

I'd recommend it to: Anyone who likes really good short stories. Or anyone who found the movie to be a lot of Hollywood fluff :)

I liked: This is a short story, told succinctly (60 pages, with illustrations) and poses a very simple dilemma ... examining a life lived in reverse! Benjamin is born an old man, then, defying all natural laws, grows younger instead of older, until that point where he disappears into nothingness. By suggesting this impossibility, it can make one re-examine the whole question of living life and mortality in general. I enjoyed the story line and given that this was written in 1921, it probably was a novel and original idea at the time. 

It looks at how a reversed life is both a blessing and curse. For example, Benjamin falls in love with his young beautiful wife at an age where both are more or less the same age; their relationship suffers as he continues to grow younger and she older, both losing physical interest in each other. At another point, Benjamin serves in the war. A decade later he is called back to serve again but he has grown younger and is not taken seriously. And how about being patted on the head by your own son because you physically look like his son? Sounds pretty comic but can be quite a tragedy.

I've never read anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but having dipped my toe into his work now gives me some idea that his work is not necessarily daunting.

Worth mentioning is that this edition of the book has lovely color illustrations by Calef Brown (see insets). They look like the belong in an art gallery!

I didn't like: Story-wise, I love this book. But my gripe is good thing I borrowed this copy ... it really isn't worth $10 for such a short short story. You'd be better off reading this online or maybe buying a collection of short stories. 

Verdict: An interesting and novel question posed in this simple and quick read. Read it when you get the chance! And I'll be looking up more of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books!

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall