Review: Tender is the Night
Although it may be a bit difficult to relate to the characters in the book (after all, I’m a middle-class European living in 2013, so I really have nothing in common with these people), eventually I got the universal, “human nature” vibes from them. It is evident that Fitzgerald was heavily influenced and inspired by people and events in his own life when writing this book, and that is why his characters here are not the typical characters in a novel. They lack contrast and color, they have a bit of everything, but their personalities are somewhat ordinary and bland – exactly like those of real people around us. And it is a good reminder, telling us that with human beings, extremes are rare, and personalities are not absolute. You may label people all you want, but a nice person can still sometimes act like an asshole. An intelligent person can sometimes do stupid things. A strong person can easily lose his strength with the passing of time; and, of course, it could go the other way round too. I like the way Fitzgerald expressed this idea and I’m taking it as a personal warning.