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F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers, is best known for The Great Gatsby, considered by many to be the most important novel of the twentieth century. But Fitzgerald also made his living as a short story writer, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales collects four of his best. The title story is a fantasy tale about a man who i F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers, is best known for The Great Gatsby, considered by many to be the most important novel of the twentieth century. But Fitzgerald also made his living as a short story writer, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales collects four of his best. The title story is a fantasy tale about a man who is in his seventies at birth and progressively ages backwards. The other stories included in this collection are "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "Tarquin of Cheapside," and "O Russet Witch!"


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F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers, is best known for The Great Gatsby, considered by many to be the most important novel of the twentieth century. But Fitzgerald also made his living as a short story writer, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales collects four of his best. The title story is a fantasy tale about a man who i F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers, is best known for The Great Gatsby, considered by many to be the most important novel of the twentieth century. But Fitzgerald also made his living as a short story writer, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales collects four of his best. The title story is a fantasy tale about a man who is in his seventies at birth and progressively ages backwards. The other stories included in this collection are "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "Tarquin of Cheapside," and "O Russet Witch!"

30 review for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I didn't like this short story. Maybe I was expecting more because the concept has so much promise. But it was short, sad, and I could not willingly suspend my disbelief regarding how people reacted to Benjamin, from the doctors in the beginning to his very own family throughout. I also found it a little bit difficult to believe how Benjamin reacted in turn, as well. It read more like a synopsis than a story -- Fitzgerald doesn't explore any of Benjamin's relationships; it's more like a play-by- I didn't like this short story. Maybe I was expecting more because the concept has so much promise. But it was short, sad, and I could not willingly suspend my disbelief regarding how people reacted to Benjamin, from the doctors in the beginning to his very own family throughout. I also found it a little bit difficult to believe how Benjamin reacted in turn, as well. It read more like a synopsis than a story -- Fitzgerald doesn't explore any of Benjamin's relationships; it's more like a play-by-play of each decade of Benjamin's life. The one part that I did like about the story was the end, Benjamin from "ages" 15 through 1. Reading it felt like going from black and white to full color, or watching a time-lapse film of a plant sprouting backwards in fast motion. The effect of seeing Benjamin lose mental development while gaining the clarity and joys of childhood was fascinating. I suppose this story has some merit when viewed as the product of a writer of the "Lost Generation" of WWI. But reading simply for pleasure, I was disappointed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Vaughn

    I really liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I might even put this story up there with The Great Gatsby. The Diamond as big as The Ritz and O Russet Witch were pretty entertaining stories, but Tarquin of Cheapside was just okay.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jolanta (knygupe)

    I'm confused about this book...so, I'll not rate it. First of all I'm not crazy about Fitzgerald. The stories are...hmmmm...just simply not interestig to me. A second reason - I was listening to audio book and I hated a reader's voice. Eventually, I think that not every book works in an audio version...at least for me. I'm confused about this book...so, I'll not rate it. First of all I'm not crazy about Fitzgerald. The stories are...hmmmm...just simply not interestig to me. A second reason - I was listening to audio book and I hated a reader's voice. Eventually, I think that not every book works in an audio version...at least for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Overton

    I read the title story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," being curious myself about how it inspired the 2008 movie of the same name. (A mediocre film based on a great premise - a person aging backward.) The story was first collected in TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE, 1922, with the following note by Fitzgerald: 'This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain's to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end. By trying the experiment I read the title story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," being curious myself about how it inspired the 2008 movie of the same name. (A mediocre film based on a great premise - a person aging backward.) The story was first collected in TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE, 1922, with the following note by Fitzgerald: 'This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain's to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end. By trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world I have scarcely given his idea a fair trial. Several weeks after completing it, I discovered an almost identical plot in Samuel Butler's "Note-books." 'This story was published in "Collier's" last summer [1921:] and provoked this startling letter from an anonymous admirer in Cincinnati: '"Sir - 'I have read the story of Benjamin Button in Collier's and I wish to say that as a short story writer you would make a good lunatic. I have seen many pieces of cheese in my life but of all the pieces of cheese I have ever seen you are the biggest piece. I hate to waste a piece of stationery on you but I will."' Fitzgerald calls the story a "fantasy," and his own description of "trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world" is a working definition of Magical Realism given back before MR had been invented as a genre. The telling is awkward and the characters without much personality, making the tale appear indeed to be a raw experiment. One theme I found fascinating is how Benjamin and his father before him are berated for his unusual aging, as if anything out of the norm is the fault of the non-normal person and to be counted as a character deficit. This gives the story an old-fashioned, 19th century sensibility. A peep-hole into what the life of the non-conformist must have been like prior to the general acceptance of psychology as a science. Here is an example, a protest made by Benjamin Button's wife who is displeased that she grows older and less desirable as the opposite happens to her husband: '"I should think you'd have enough pride to stop it....There's a right way of doing things and a wrong way. If you've made up your mind to be different from everybody else, I don't suppose I can stop you, but I really don't think it's very considerate.... You're simple stubborn. You think you don't want to be like any one else. You always have been that way, and you always will be. But just think how it would be if every one else looked at things as you do - what would the world be like?"' (335)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    If you're thinking about reading this because you loved the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", you may be disappointed. There are very few similarities with the story and movie but if you (like me) are a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing, you will enjoy these stories. "Benjamin Button" is a very minor part of them. This is quite a varied collection. The "Jazz Age" and "Flapper Stories" have their highs and lows yet I appreciated the historical perspective that the stories gave me. T If you're thinking about reading this because you loved the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", you may be disappointed. There are very few similarities with the story and movie but if you (like me) are a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing, you will enjoy these stories. "Benjamin Button" is a very minor part of them. This is quite a varied collection. The "Jazz Age" and "Flapper Stories" have their highs and lows yet I appreciated the historical perspective that the stories gave me. The reader needs to check the footnotes and Fitzgerald's comments are included for some of the stories after the footnotes. One caution- because it's been years since I had read anything by Fitzgerald, I was shocked by the racial slurs in the text. Even when one takes into account the attitudes of Americans in the beginning of last century, these words can be offensive. And, not all of it can be attributed to an honest depiction of the characters in his stories since much comes through the voice of the narrator. On the plus side - it stirs one out of complacency. It forced me to do a bit more reading on the internet about Fitzgerald's feelings on race etc. Some researchers believe he matured during his brief lifetime and he had begun to criticize this same attitude in other writers of his time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela Magic Art

    This was much shorter than I was expecting. I quite liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It’s strange, and humorous, and thought provoking. But the other “Jazz Age Stories” I didn’t really care for.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    The Offshore Pirate: This was ultimately my favorite short story of the book. The story is about Ardita a snobbish young woman who believes she can do whatever she pleases. Ardita is a great character and her attitude towards everyone made me giggle, it was just so entertaining on how she treats everyone. She throws a half eaten lemon at her own uncle, rude and childish but funny as hell. The story actually begins on Ardita’s uncle’s ship, she is suppose to head to shore and meet the man she is t The Offshore Pirate: This was ultimately my favorite short story of the book. The story is about Ardita a snobbish young woman who believes she can do whatever she pleases. Ardita is a great character and her attitude towards everyone made me giggle, it was just so entertaining on how she treats everyone. She throws a half eaten lemon at her own uncle, rude and childish but funny as hell. The story actually begins on Ardita’s uncle’s ship, she is suppose to head to shore and meet the man she is to marry, as you can guess, Ardita had other ideas. Artdita truly desires to have an adventuress life and finds her life now to be dully. So in the end Ardita stays on the ship, only to later get captured by a handsome pirate. Hmm, one can only wonder what this will lead to. As you may have guessed the two start to fall in love with each other, but there formal lives are getting in the way. To avoid spoiling I will live it at that; however the story has a very romantic and weird twist in the end. In my personal opinion this short story is a good book for all women to read for a nice heart throbbing adventure because who doesn’t want to be swept away by a handsome pirate. The Four Fists: A good short story and only funny to those who like to see, or in this case read about a man getting hit. The title of this book basically explains itself, the main character Samuel is punched four times because of mistakes he makes in his life. Each and every punch teaches him a lesson, and each less are as confusing as the next. Of course Samuel deserves every single hit he takes but I am guess when I say that each hit magically knocks some sense into him. This story confused me a lot so it is difficult to explain what happens but from what I did understand is that Samuel was a rude, selfish, and lustful guy and each punch taught him to become a better person. There is a missing lesson that I did not fully understand, this happened upon the second punch. Anyways the story was intriguing because Fitzgerald wrote it as if each fits to the face had some magical power when in truth most people would not thing, “Oh, I did something wrong I deserved that punch.” It would be more on the, lines of “What the hell!?” and insanity punch back. Thus, it would have an ending of the person learn nothing more then violence and gaining no effort in becoming a good person. A descent reading for when one has the time to pass but still this book could have been quite better if Fitzgerald when into more details about the lesson Samuel learned. Mr. Icky: This is story is actually not a story but a script and unless ready out loud, one may find this book a real head throb. The story is confusing, the jokes are hard to make out unless read out loud and the dialogue is just killer to the brain. In my class we had to read it ourselves and then read it out loud to get most of it. But the sum of the story is about Mr. Icky’s children leaving is house to go live their own lives. Of coarse Mr. Icky is not taking this well, what father wood and is desperately trying to convince his children to stay. Well, let’s just say it does not end well for Mr. Icky and I think the ending was bittersweet it was difficult to tell. However, I got a real kick out of what some of the characters wanted to do with their lives. For example, Charles you would think he would want to do something like work in the military or perhaps get a job in a factory, well no he longs for something much more interesting. He want to hunt eels, really eels, I guess that is exciting in its own way, one can only ask what type of eels Charles wishes to hunt for. (If you’re think of what I think your thinking of then you people are sick I meant what species of eels!). Anyways, this script is fun to read with a small group and although confusing a quite enjoyable read if you know how to play the parts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of course, I loved it. I would have given it five stars, but stories like "Tarquin of Cheapside" and "Jemina" make that impossible. Still, it's a good collection of Fitzgerald's Jazz Age stories. Off the top of my head, my favorite stories are "May Day," "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," "The Lees of Happiness," "The Ice Palace," "The Cut-Glass Bowl," "Head and Shoulders," "Off-Shore Pirate," and "Four Fists." I'm sure there are more that I really liked, but again, I'm doing This is F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of course, I loved it. I would have given it five stars, but stories like "Tarquin of Cheapside" and "Jemina" make that impossible. Still, it's a good collection of Fitzgerald's Jazz Age stories. Off the top of my head, my favorite stories are "May Day," "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," "The Lees of Happiness," "The Ice Palace," "The Cut-Glass Bowl," "Head and Shoulders," "Off-Shore Pirate," and "Four Fists." I'm sure there are more that I really liked, but again, I'm doing this off the top of my head, not with the Table of Contents spread before me. Speaking of the ToC, I really enjoyed Fitzgerald's original ToC for Tales of the Jazz Age. It was entertaining to read how he felt about his own work looking back on it years later. Over all, I loved this collection because I love Fitzgerald's work. His writing is beautiful, his stories are well-conceived, and his characters are funny, interesting, weird, and unique like people should be. I highly recommend this book for a snapshot of life in a different time, for entertaining and thought-provoking reading, and for the experience of reading strong literature.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Djrmel

    audiobook read by Grover Gardiner - I'd like to be more positive about these stories, but as the collection progressed, a single, sad thought kept coming to my mind - Fitzgerald really was a one hit wonder. That might be unfair, in that these stories are his early works, but they were published, so they do stand as a part of his body of work. The titled story is pretty good, especially in concept. And the arc of the main character gives an interesting look at what would happen if we really were audiobook read by Grover Gardiner - I'd like to be more positive about these stories, but as the collection progressed, a single, sad thought kept coming to my mind - Fitzgerald really was a one hit wonder. That might be unfair, in that these stories are his early works, but they were published, so they do stand as a part of his body of work. The titled story is pretty good, especially in concept. And the arc of the main character gives an interesting look at what would happen if we really were more mature when we were younger rather than older. But the story never goes too deep, and the supporting characters are more like backstops, there to bounce dialog and action off of, but never adding structure. The stories are all surface, glitzy and wordy and overwritten, and if you try to look deeper, you'll discover Fitzgerald didn't go any deeper. I suppose that's a good portrait of the era he was writing in, but beyond their historical significance, I'd have a hard time recommending this collection to anyone.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cristina Vîrban

    These stories need a historical context in order to be understood entirely. Also, you have to read Scott's footnotes and explanations in order to get the meaning. I enjoyed the stories, I love how they show both the luxury and the moral decadence of the 20s. Classical Fitzgerald, however, as I always mention, his novels are better than his short stories, in my opinion. These stories need a historical context in order to be understood entirely. Also, you have to read Scott's footnotes and explanations in order to get the meaning. I enjoyed the stories, I love how they show both the luxury and the moral decadence of the 20s. Classical Fitzgerald, however, as I always mention, his novels are better than his short stories, in my opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessika

    Like others who reviewed this edition, the stories were great but the editing was terrible. Actually bad enough to be distracting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Rochelle

    I never loved The Great Gatsby in high school...I seem to recall thinking Gatsby was a buttface and Daisy was an idiot. Maybe I should read it again, because I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Yes, there were some I didn't like, but my favorites more than make up for those that I didn't like. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"... warrants a second reading, Marjorie deserved what she got in the end! Justice for the unfavored girl! "Head & Shoulders" ...beautifully bitter ending...great take on I never loved The Great Gatsby in high school...I seem to recall thinking Gatsby was a buttface and Daisy was an idiot. Maybe I should read it again, because I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Yes, there were some I didn't like, but my favorites more than make up for those that I didn't like. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"... warrants a second reading, Marjorie deserved what she got in the end! Justice for the unfavored girl! "Head & Shoulders" ...beautifully bitter ending...great take on O.Henry's "The gift". "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"...very interesting that they turned this into a movie...cute story...sad though. "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz"...reminded me of Bernie Madoff and how he tried to protect his own "diamond"...I just read an article in April '09s Vanity Fair that made me think of this story. Oh, the things we will do to protect ourselves and our fortunes! "Benediction"...love that the brother and sister connected...but I want more! "The Offshore Pirate"...silly story...if someone lied to me like that, I certainly wouldn't love them in the end! "Dalyrimple Goes Wrong"...I don't know that any politician today could have a past like Dalyrimple, but if Dalyrimple is the only one that knows his dirty past then it's possible that he could get away with it...makes you wonder how much people get away with everyday!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I had been planning to read The Great Gatsby for years and picked up a copy when I was browsing a soon-to-close local Borders. This book was next to it, so I scooped up a copy of this as well. I'm probably the last person on the planet to fall in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald. What a writer! His sentences are so finely crafted and the stories are jewels to treasure. He so captures the era in which he wrote -- at least as far as I can tell. 0 I had been planning to read The Great Gatsby for years and picked up a copy when I was browsing a soon-to-close local Borders. This book was next to it, so I scooped up a copy of this as well. I'm probably the last person on the planet to fall in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald. What a writer! His sentences are so finely crafted and the stories are jewels to treasure. He so captures the era in which he wrote -- at least as far as I can tell. 0

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    The only story that truly interested me was the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I read a few of the others but they seemed to end without ever stating a plot. I realize that they are short stories, but they seemed more like UNFINISHED stories to me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Staceyj

    Wonderful short story collection.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elisha

    The Jelly-Bean: 1.5 stars This was my least favourite short story in the whole collection, which was pretty worrying considering that I read this one first. It didn't really appeal to me at all. I'm awarding it an extra 0.5 star because I did like the character of Nancy, I just didn't like her storyline or anyone's storyline for that matter. This was a poor story in my opinion and it's a real shame that it's the first one in the anthology. After reading this one, I must admit that I dreaded t The Jelly-Bean: 1.5 stars This was my least favourite short story in the whole collection, which was pretty worrying considering that I read this one first. It didn't really appeal to me at all. I'm awarding it an extra 0.5 star because I did like the character of Nancy, I just didn't like her storyline or anyone's storyline for that matter. This was a poor story in my opinion and it's a real shame that it's the first one in the anthology. After reading this one, I must admit that I dreaded the other 10 stories. However, they did thankfully improve. The Camel's Back: 2.5 stars This was one hell of a weird story. As I was reading, I couldn't help but wonder where on earth Fitzgerald got this idea from. It was a lot better than The Jelly-Bean, but I found it quite inconsistent. The beginning didn't really grab me. The middle with the party was very, very good. During those scenes, I was very optimistic and expected to give this 3.5-4 stars. However, the ending didn't really do it for me. It was too much, too ridiculous. The idea of the wedding was too silly for my tastes. The rest of the story was funny in a subtle way, but the ending was too much. It's a shame because this story had the potential to be excellent. May Day: 4 stars This was a vast improvement on the first two. It was more poignant than funny, which is good because I established over the course of this anthology that Fitzgerald is very inconsistent with his humour. I was keeping notes as I read through the stories so that I'd remember what to write in this review and on this note I wrote 'chapter 4 was everything'. That's true. Chapter 4 in this story was probably the single most beautiful piece of writing in this entire anthology. I was swept away by it. Unfortunately, not all of the rest of the story lived up to the beauty of Chapter 4. Some bits felt rushed or overdramatic. I wish that there had been more focus on Edith and Gordon because the most interesting parts of the story centred on them. Then came the ending. Oh my God, the ENDING. The ending of this story was so dark and poignant and I loved it. I'd say that this was one of the best stories in the anthology overall. Porcelain and Pink: 4.5 stars I loved this one. It's a playscript rather than a short story and I really do love the playscript format. I really must read more plays in future. This story was very humorous. I think I laughed more at this one than any other story in the collection. The idea was so stylish and the writing was so pretty, I absolutely couldn't resist it. I couldn't give it 5 because it lacked a little bit of substance for me, but it was one of my favourites. I think I'd enjoy actually seeing it performed on a stage, although it would be an extremely short production. To summarise this story: completely charming. The Diamond as Big as the Ritz: 4 stars This is obviously one of the more famous stories from this anthology and I can see why. The idea itself is excellent. It's all about an excess of luxury and it was absolutely compelling to read. It was humorous but it also had a seriousness. The joke about Hades was overused, but it was funny in the first instance. I sort of wish that this story had been longer because I feel as tough Fitzgerald could have developed it beautifully. I would have liked to have seen more of Percy and to watch John and Kismine's relationship develop more. However, as a whole, this was a very impressive story. If you're looking for one single Fitzgerald story to read, this one would be a good option. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: 5 stars This story was the reason why I bought this anthology. I decided to do a project on short stories at school (which is absolutely killing me and kind of making me hate the term 'short story') and this was one that I chose, so I kind of had to read it and I thought 'hey, why not read the others while we're at it?' It was worth buying the anthology just for this story. This was one of my absolute favourites in the whole collection. The idea itself is wonderful and it was beautifully executed. It reminded me of a novel that I read a while ago named Elsewhere. I didn't enjoy that novel because I thought the idea wasn't executed as well as it could have been. Benjamin Button was the opposite. This was a joy to read. It had humour and it also had seriousness. The ending is very sad indeed. I'm really glad that I read this, although I can't say I'm looking forward to my project on it. Tarquin of Cheapside: 2.5 stars Perhaps I had a book hangover from Benjamin Button, but this story didn't hold my interest at all. The writing was nice, yeah, but I didn't really see where Fitzgerald was going with it. The ending was far stronger than the beginning. However, the poetic style of writing was lovely to read and that's why my rating is as high as it is. I'm afraid that I just didn't care for the storyline very much. "O Russet Witch!": 3.5 stars This was decent. Caroline was an absolutely fascinating character and I loved the way that she haunted Merlin all his life, always standing in the way. I have a weakness for any storylines that take place in a book shop so this catered to my interests perfectly. Merlin himself was a very interesting character, and I must admit that I laughed out loud when he named his son Arthur. This story was just lacking in something for me. I think that maybe it would have been better as a full-length novel because then we could have truly seen the time pass and witnessed how things developed. However, this was a compelling story as a whole. And I absolutely adore the title. That sounds really weird, but as soon as I saw that title on the contents page I thought 'ooh, I'm looking forward to that one'. Luckily, it didn't let me down. The Lees of Happiness: 5 stars This was my absolute favourite. I'd given this 10 stars if I could. Nothing else in this anthology compared to the beauty of this story. It was so sad and tragic, but so beautiful. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. The beginning was very interesting. It was almost in second person as it tried to make the reader imagine themselves reading a magazine and seeing the names of a short story writer and a chorus girl. I was pulled in right from the start. Then the romance unfurled between Roxanne and Jeffrey, a romance which soon turned into a tragedy. It was so emotional and beautiful to read. There were many times in which I wanted to reach inside the story and give poor Roxanne a hug. For such a little story, it captured a downfall so perfectly. I absolutely adored it. Mr. Icky: 3 stars Like Tarquin of Cheapside, it's possible that I had a slight book hangover when I read this one after the beauty of the previous story. However, I just don't think that it was my cup of tea. This is also a playscript so I'd been looking forward to it, but it let me down. There seemed to be too much going on at once and none of it was tied up properly in my opinion. I loved the interaction between Ulsa and Divine and if that had continued then I think I'd have loved this play a whole lot more. However, things went downhill from there. Everything just seemed to escalate too quickly and as a result I sort of lost interest. This wasn't the best story in the anthology, but it certainly wasn't the worst either. Jemina, The Mountain Girl: 2.5 stars This was a very strange story that also seemed to escalate too quickly. I think that it was meant to be a comedy, but I only found it funny in a few places. Then, of course, everyone dies in the end so that was a little bit weird. Jemina was quite an amusing character and I liked her interaction with the stranger. I wish there had been slightly more world building because I think that would have really helped to move this story along. It was very short, perhaps too short, and the pace seemed too quick for me. Again, this wasn't the worst story in the anthology, but there are far better ones. Something about this just didn't appeal to me. It's a shame that such an interesting anthology ended on a bum note. Overall: 3.5 stars I'm glad that I read this. I think it gave me a good understanding of Fitzgerald the man as well as Fitzgerald the writer. In my edition there are notes from Fitzgerald before every story and the poor guy doesn't seem very happy with any of them. That's a shame because there are some real beauties in here. Yes, not all of them are quality, but as a whole this is a very good collection of short stories. I think it's fair to conclude that Fitzgerald is not a comedy writer no matter how hard he tries to be. The best stories in here had some seriousness and poignancy and typically the stories that tried to be funny were the worst. Also, I didn't point it out in the original reviews, but Fitzgerald is very good at creating female characters. Quite often the female characters were my favourite things about these stories. A lot of them are strong, spunky flappers and I enjoy reading that. As a whole, this is a good collection. I look forward to reading more of Fitzgerald's novels in future because I have a feeling that those will appeal to me a lot more than some of these stories did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I hope this Hollywood practice of taking movies and slapping random classic book titles on them is over. You can make a movie about a guy who ages backwards and not call it The Curious Case of Benjamin Button if literally nothing else in your movie resembles F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story. Anyway, Fitzgerald's story is good. It pokes fun at people's tendency to treat others according to their appearances and not according to who they actually are. It's a light story, until its sad ending. "The I hope this Hollywood practice of taking movies and slapping random classic book titles on them is over. You can make a movie about a guy who ages backwards and not call it The Curious Case of Benjamin Button if literally nothing else in your movie resembles F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story. Anyway, Fitzgerald's story is good. It pokes fun at people's tendency to treat others according to their appearances and not according to who they actually are. It's a light story, until its sad ending. "The Diamond Big as the Ritz," the second story in this collection, is wonderful, and I'm glad they haven't "adapted it to film" yet so that maybe someday soon they can adapt it to film. It's about a Trumpesque billionaire who owns a diamond the size of a mountain and the lengths he goes to to hide it from the world while supplying teachers and playmates to his children. His father first discovered the diamond mountain when slavery was legal, and none of the slaves who continue to live on the mountain are aware that slavery has ended. The telling of this story, I think, is what I like best. It's mythic in an Ancient Greek way, but it's also very United Statesian.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ruth MacLaren

    A mixed bunch. I didn’t really like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and I don’t think it was really making the most of the whole premise. Was it well written? Maybe so. But I much preferred The Russet Witch and The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. I suppose all short story collections are going to be hit for some and miss for others. It’s probably about time for me to reread Gatsby.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    3.5/5 Somewhat hit or miss with each short story. The story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button itself is largely dissimilar from the 2008 film. They really only share an alike concept of a man aging backward, and the similarities end there!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    Sadly I dropped it in the bath with me last night, it immediately swelled to the size of a loaf of bread. I only got to 'May Day.' Which means I have not read the famous 'Diamond As Big As the Ritz,' nor the titular 'Benjamin Button.' Ah well, it was got for just a dollar from the Salvation Army and I didn't mind that I was slowly ruining it in the bath. Save that, normally I can get to the end of a book before it comes apart in my hands. Second book I've dropped in the bath, which is not bad, co Sadly I dropped it in the bath with me last night, it immediately swelled to the size of a loaf of bread. I only got to 'May Day.' Which means I have not read the famous 'Diamond As Big As the Ritz,' nor the titular 'Benjamin Button.' Ah well, it was got for just a dollar from the Salvation Army and I didn't mind that I was slowly ruining it in the bath. Save that, normally I can get to the end of a book before it comes apart in my hands. Second book I've dropped in the bath, which is not bad, considering how frequently I read in the bath. And considering I only read books in the bath I am not too attached to, I'm surprised it doesn't more often happen. When I lived in Budapest I was starved for books to read. Every month I would make a circuit of all the used-book stores that had a small 'English' section. Since I've been back in Canada I've amassed a collection of novels that will take me the next few years to read. But it's still a kind of shame to lose a book this way, I suppose I could read it, but now it smells of wet newsprint, which is not so nice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Kristin

    Disclaimer: This review & rating is specifically for the short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If you are looking for a review of the entire book then others perhaps will be more helpful. I really liked the movie version of this story and it's what drew me to this (as I'm sure most people can attest to as well). Cate Blanchett is other-worldly and I loved the deep narrative of life, love, and in between. However, this story is so far removed from the movie that the only similarity it b Disclaimer: This review & rating is specifically for the short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If you are looking for a review of the entire book then others perhaps will be more helpful. I really liked the movie version of this story and it's what drew me to this (as I'm sure most people can attest to as well). Cate Blanchett is other-worldly and I loved the deep narrative of life, love, and in between. However, this story is so far removed from the movie that the only similarity it bears is the fact that Benjamin ages in reverse...no seriously, they have nothing in common. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time. Some people say that about certain novels but I truly mean it when I say it; it holds a special place in my heart. So I guess you can say I unfairly judged this story in conjunction with quite possibly one of the greatest novels ever written...a thousand apologies F. Scott. Potential Spoilers Abound? I understood what Fitzgerald was trying to do and what he was trying to say. I read it as a metaphor for trying to conform and fit to what others around you dictate. Benjamin was denied acceptance to Yale because he didn't look his age. He couldn't re-enlist in the army because he looked too young. There is a certain prejudice against Benjamin to the point where even if he produces his birth certificate people still don't believe him because all they have to do is look at him to know the truth. Truth be told it was a good short story. I am not a big fan of short stories mostly for the reason that they aren't long enough. Just a personal preference I guess. I am someone who wants long detailed narratives and endless details and background story. I'm a historian. What do you expect? I think that's what was missing for me here; more meat to satisfy my hunger. It had beautiful, typical Fitzgerald language and writing style, there just wasn't enough. I never felt sorrow or pity for Benjamin and I never emotionally connected with him as probably I was intended to do. There wasn't really enough in this story for me to comment further on, other than it helped satisfy a long curiosity of a movie's source. Please beware that the movie is no way a resemblance of the book and could be a disappointment for some readers. If you like F. Scott you may like this story. Now I can say I read it...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thom Swennes

    A circle is a line curved to infinity. Often life is described as a circle; one is born, grows up, (hopefully) falls in love, has children, grows old, mourns and then dies; only to repeat this in another dimension. What a truly beautiful thought. Who can find fault with this? It is simple….. Now, change the direction of this circle of life….. That is what F. Scot Fitzgerald did in his amazing story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button have a baby. That doesn’t sound, in A circle is a line curved to infinity. Often life is described as a circle; one is born, grows up, (hopefully) falls in love, has children, grows old, mourns and then dies; only to repeat this in another dimension. What a truly beautiful thought. Who can find fault with this? It is simple….. Now, change the direction of this circle of life….. That is what F. Scot Fitzgerald did in his amazing story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button have a baby. That doesn’t sound, in itself particularly strange or earth shattering, until you know that baby has a long white beard, wrinkled face and features and stands or rather stoops 5’ 6”. In other words Benjamin Button begins life at the wrong end and being already so close to the end, goes the other way. The original concept is rather a lot to swallow but once done proves to be remarkable palatable. This story goes through different phases from astonishing, through funny and heartwarming, to finally end in a deep sadness (the direction isn’t as important as one would originally imagine). I like this story very much. My only criticism could only be that I’m sorry Mark Twain didn’t have this inspiration (as I imagine with his homespun humor the story would be a literary epic). I don’t mean to detract from F. Scott Fitzgerald in any way…. Let’s be fair it was his inspiration and he rightly deserves the glory. I think this should be read by everyone. If you want to look at yourself; you look in a mirror. If you want to look at your life circle; take a trip against the stream. In both cases your eyes will be opened to something truly unique.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    I thought Fitzgerald’s writing was clever and imaginative and moving and vivid. I also think he’s a very sad, disillusioned, jaded, unhappy man. The only other Fitzgerald book I’ve read was The Great Gatsby, but this mix of short stories confirms what I suspected about him. His world view seems to be that anything that appears to be good is merely a façade over a darker truth, and that the only purpose of a relationship is to get something out of it. Every single woman he portrayed was either an I thought Fitzgerald’s writing was clever and imaginative and moving and vivid. I also think he’s a very sad, disillusioned, jaded, unhappy man. The only other Fitzgerald book I’ve read was The Great Gatsby, but this mix of short stories confirms what I suspected about him. His world view seems to be that anything that appears to be good is merely a façade over a darker truth, and that the only purpose of a relationship is to get something out of it. Every single woman he portrayed was either an old, demanding nag or a young, manipulative and callous beauty. There’s no hope in his writing, just weary despair. I can’t say I’d recommend a steady diet of Fitzgerald, but he is talented and his work is worth reading.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie R. Herring

    As a whole, this collection of short stories is okay. Individually though, some of these stories are phenomenal. My favorites were: The Offshore Pirate, Head and Shoulders, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, The Four Fists, Porcelain and Pink, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, And The Lees of Happiness. I would definitely recommend this collection, but beware, this tale of Benjamin Button is quite different from the movie. The ploy is still the same, though. A man aging backwards. F. Scott, I am happy to say, is As a whole, this collection of short stories is okay. Individually though, some of these stories are phenomenal. My favorites were: The Offshore Pirate, Head and Shoulders, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, The Four Fists, Porcelain and Pink, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, And The Lees of Happiness. I would definitely recommend this collection, but beware, this tale of Benjamin Button is quite different from the movie. The ploy is still the same, though. A man aging backwards. F. Scott, I am happy to say, is still my favorite writer. I don't know how he does it. The lyrical prose can just turn your brain into mush, and even convince a nonreader to love literature.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (GR isn't sending comment notifications)

    There seems to be a number of versions of this book, all with different selections. The one I read contained the following stories, all of which I had read previously in other publications: 1)The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This was one of my two favorites. Interesting and funny story about backwards aging. 2)Babylon Revisited. My other favorite. Really captures an era and the sad consequences of self-indulgence. 3)Three Hours Between Planes 4)The Bridal Party 5)The Lost Decade 3.5 stars over There seems to be a number of versions of this book, all with different selections. The one I read contained the following stories, all of which I had read previously in other publications: 1)The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This was one of my two favorites. Interesting and funny story about backwards aging. 2)Babylon Revisited. My other favorite. Really captures an era and the sad consequences of self-indulgence. 3)Three Hours Between Planes 4)The Bridal Party 5)The Lost Decade 3.5 stars overall, because I liked the first two stories so much.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bellezza

    For once, the film outdid the short story. A bizarre tale, which seems to me to cleverly mock adult expectations for their children specifically and life generally. It varies greatly from the movie; one possiblity could be that the book was about 50 pages long whereas the film added all kinds of bits to add up to almost three hours. The two are quite dissimilar, in fact, and I was disappointed in reading this knowing that F. Scott Fitzgeral was its author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Enjoying this book so far, I forgot how much I used to enjoy Fitzgerald's stories, it has been a long time since I read him. But I really brought the book to read Benjamin Button, I loved the movie but it was a real stretch from the short story. It was breath taking, there was an emotional connection that made you keep reading until the last page. It's a beautiful story that can make you giggle or cry, but it's worth every last tear. Enjoying this book so far, I forgot how much I used to enjoy Fitzgerald's stories, it has been a long time since I read him. But I really brought the book to read Benjamin Button, I loved the movie but it was a real stretch from the short story. It was breath taking, there was an emotional connection that made you keep reading until the last page. It's a beautiful story that can make you giggle or cry, but it's worth every last tear.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris - Quarter Press Editor

    I find it quite interesting that someone who would write something like the Great Gatsby also liked to cut loose and write some rather bizarre tales. Many of these made me think of something Bradbury might write--or even Stephen King. Regardless, I enjoyed this one. It might not be amazing, but I was thoroughly entertained.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    The title character's regression, even in dialogue, is well-crafted. An original idea crafted with irony and detail. Fitzgerald's other stories with it were a big drop-off. The title character's regression, even in dialogue, is well-crafted. An original idea crafted with irony and detail. Fitzgerald's other stories with it were a big drop-off.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This collection showcases the spectacular ability of F Scott Fitzgerald to capture the essence of the Jazz Age, the world of wealthy Americans in the early twentieth century, and moral failings ill-concealed by money and privilege. In short, the same themes permeating his best-known work - The Great Gatsby. It turns out that in addition to being a jazz age scion, the spouse of Zelda, an alcoholic who died at age 44 from complications of alcohol abuse, and a peculiarly interesting character in Ame This collection showcases the spectacular ability of F Scott Fitzgerald to capture the essence of the Jazz Age, the world of wealthy Americans in the early twentieth century, and moral failings ill-concealed by money and privilege. In short, the same themes permeating his best-known work - The Great Gatsby. It turns out that in addition to being a jazz age scion, the spouse of Zelda, an alcoholic who died at age 44 from complications of alcohol abuse, and a peculiarly interesting character in American literary history, Fitzgerald was a prolific short-story writer. (I had no idea about this). The only story in this collection I'd heard of in advance was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and that story was the reason I picked this book up. After watching about half of the Brad Pitt version, I thought to check out the story instead. Never did finish the movie. As it turns out, there are several much more compelling stories in this collection, although Benjamin Button is certainly as creative and unique as one might hope. The Camel's Back tells of a young man who seeks solace in the bottle - and his friends - after a miscommunication leading him to believe he has been rejected by his fiancee. Eventually, thoroughly soused, he attends a masquerade ball disguised as a camel, and of course the errant fiancee is not only in attendance, but is thoroughly enchanted by the disguised gentleman. May Day contrasts the fortunes of two college graduates - one wealthy, one penniless - and intertwines their stories with those of two returning WWI soldiers and a young, shallow woman. In this, Fitzgerald's prejudices and beliefs seep through: There is casual bigotry and racism, which, in context, does not seem unusual for the era. Women are portrayed as heartless and gay (and I mean that in the Jazz Age version of the word), powdered and primped, the objects of desire but not of respect. There is a portrayal of a 1919 anti-Communist riot. Money purchases access to luxury but not kindness or civility, and the story ends with tragedy. The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is purely fantastical - taking the concept of wealth to the extreme. In this, a young man accompanies a school friend home to his estate during vacation, never realizing that the other student's seeming exaggerations - walls made of gemstones, a diamond as big as the Ritz - are really true. Garish, tasteless, and amoral, the family with bottomless wealth ultimately pays a heavy price for their lack of conscience. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is mostly interesting for two reasons: how it addresses the theme of dealing with the unexpected (a person aging in reverse) and for the odd concept of having a person age entirely in reverse. As a fan of fantasy, this was a little hard for me to swallow: there was not any world-building at all or any explanation for how a full-grown elderly male could magically appear from his mother's womb. However, if you suspend disbelief, Fitzgerald deals with the concept of a father who appears younger than his son and a son who appears older than his father with creativity. It is very different from the movie version. "O Russet Witch" tells of Merlin, a bookseller, who is briefly tempted to seize happiness and take a chance in his twenties, but spends his entire life avoiding risks and avoiding happiness. It's a bit odd. The Lees of Happiness tell of two couples - really, the focus is on just one - who begin their married lives with joy but find that things don't turn out as expected. Perhaps this one is a little maudlin but it is probably among the most realistic of the bunch, and it's rather sad. All in, this was rather fascinating. I didn't love every story (I didn't bother to review five of them) but Fitzgerald was a master storyteller, and these are an amazing snapshot of that period in time. So often when we read historical fiction we see present-day views imposed on prior-era morality and behavior. The simple truth is that some things about people remain the same over time; history tends to repeat itself; and people are a product of the times in which they live. So this was an engaging experience to read some historical fiction that wasn't actually historical fiction when it was written. These stories were published in literary magazines and newspapers, and publications that, for all intents and purposes, were probably intended to be discarded after reading. They were written for readers who would have recognized themselves and people they knew in their characters. I loved that the portrayals were unfiltered. It was rather refreshing. All in, if you like short stories, this is a pretty excellent read. Could have done without the five I didn't review.

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