The Great Gatsby Unbound
F. Scott Fitzgerald & Karena Rose
"Nick Carraway, a young virgin from Minnesota, moves to New York in the summer of 1922 to find love. He rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy but unfashionable area populated by the 'new rich' - a group prone to garish, extravagant parties full of wild, erotic activities.
And Nick's next-door neighbour is the worst of them all: a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby who throws open the doors of his gigantic Gothic mansion every Saturday night to house the most opulent, seductive sexual encounters. A carnal, sensual world is revealed to Nick, led by the beautiful, alluring, golf champion, Jordan Baker who is devoid of all love and wants to make him another of her playthings.But who is Jay Gatsby? And what will happen when Nick steps into his raunchy, wild mansion? Things will never be the
again in this erotic retelling of The Great Gatsby."
When I first set eyes on this book I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Great Gatsby Unbound is a book which reprints the entirety of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel with additional passages, which turn the story into…an erotic novel…no, seriously…
I’ve already spoke about the great Gatsby before so I won’t go into it again here other than to say, it’s a wonderful book that I would recommend you pick up straight away if you’ve never read it.
In this review, I’ll be focusing on the “Unbound” sections that Karena Rose has, for reasons known only to her, chosen to insert into the book. It goes without saying that this review might not be suitable for under eighteens.
Where do you even start? I won’t go into the sheer audacity of turning The Great Gatsby into porn because…well, I don’t really think it is an audacity. I’m not against people taking pre-existing stories and adapting them into something new, in fact I can think of several instances where authors have done exactly that, incredibly well, to great critical acclaim. Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula, Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are a few stand-out examples.
So, I’m not going to say that the Great Gatsby flat out shouldn’t have been adapted into an erotic novel, but I will say…it shouldn’t have been done by Karena Rose.
Most of the time, when these sort of adaptations of stories are released, they’re done by people who have a real love and respect for the original text. People who love a story and just want to have fun with it, to try to present it in an interesting way or say something new with it. Reading this book however, it certainly doesn’t feel like the author falls into this group of people. This book just feels like nothing more than a quick, low-effort attempt to cash in on the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, with little or no love or interest for the original story present.
In the author’s notes at the back of the book she thanks Fitzgerald “for being out of copyright” which should go some way to showing how little respect she has for the original text.
The result is a book which is almost unreadable, one that not only ruins one of the finest plots ever written, but which doesn’t even have the decency to be sexy while it does it.
The sex scenes that Rose has added are remarkably lukewarm and read more like a step by step guide to lacklustre intercourse than anything anyone could actually find arousing. All of the verbs and adjectives you might expect from an erotic novel are present and accounted for, everything’s either “throbbing” or “wet” and everyone’s constantly “thrusting” and “riding” to their heart’s clichéd content.
It’s unbelievably bland and, considering the fact that Karena Rose had to do little more than churn out a few thousand words to slot into a pre-existing text, it’s bordering on inexcusable that her writing could be so dull.
Not only are the new sections about as sexy as a teabag, they’re also oddly infrequent. While the first hundred pages or so has Nick and Jordan ravishing each other every chance they get, following that, there’s hardly any sex in the book at all purely because there’s nowhere in the story to fit it in. Instead you’ll find yourself reading eighty pages of the original novel in a row, with Rose having no opportunity to add anything other than the occasional reference to someone’s breasts.
These sections, where you’re just reading the original novel, are certainly the most enjoyable part of the book, but I can’t help but feel this wouldn’t sit too well with someone who’s picked this book up for its erotic content. For those readers the book could probably do with a little less of all that “moral decay beneath the glitz and glamour of the 1920’s social scene” rubbish and a little more “throbbing”, thank you very much…
So do I have anything positive to say about this book at all? Well, it does contain the entire text of The Great Gatsby, which, despite Rose’s meddling, is still a wonderful book that I would encourage everyone to read at least once. So, I suppose, if you haven’t read the book already, and for some reason no bookshop near you has a copy of the original…nor the ability to order one….and Amazon is down for maintenance…and the only copy you can find is this one, you could, with the help of a marker pen, restore the book to its proper glory and enjoy the story as it should be read…erotica free.
So yes, if you find yourself in that oddly specific scenario, then by all means buy this. For everyone else however, avoid it like the plague.