Most helpful positive review
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
on 27 April 2015
***Spoiler Alert for the story Benjamin Button***
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1922) by F Scott Fitzgerald is one story that was not covered on my English Literature degree. I wish it had been, as it is now my favourite of his works. The module - 1920s literature, in which we studied the writings off the time, the Jazz Age and Flappers - centred on Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned (1922) and The Great Gatsby (1925), and other literature including Anita Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady (1926). However, we never covered any of the authors' short fiction, which was a shame, looking back. This book not only contains Benjamin Button, but a number of Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age: Bernice Bobs Her Hair, The Jelly-Bean, and Dalyrimple Goes Wrong. Concentrating on the title story, Benjamin Button is the tale of a man born in Baltimore, 1860, who has the physical appearance of an old man in his 70s. His father tries to include him in all the activities of the children his age, but Benjamin cannot keep up, due to his physical attributes. Eventually, as he reaches his teenage years, it is evident that Benjamin is physically growing in reverse, from old age to a baby. Benjamin is given control of his father's hardware business in his 20s and he meets a partner who he stays with for some time; they even marry; ironically, prefers older men, but is unaware of his condition. Things start to go wrong, however, as she naturally ages and Benjamin ages backwards in appearance and develops the features and physical attributes of a man growing younger. He joins the army for a while, then relinquishes his hold on the business to his son and attends Harvard University, where he excels until the ageing process again becomes an issue and, as he reaches kindergarten ages physically, he also begins to lose his memory until the fade-out. I thought this was a pretty imaginative story that flowed well and is not too long: short stories this good are hard to pull off, but Fitzgerald is one writer who can accomplish this feat. The other tales are almost as good and encompass themes such as coming-of-age, lost love, and the self. Benjamin Button is, for me, though, the highlight of this collection. This Kindle book by Coyote Canyon Press is well formatted and contains no obvious errors; a bargain at 0.99p. Recommended.