Amory Blaine was born to an eccentric mother and a cold and distant father. This is the story of his life, but more than that it is the story of his search for love, and his search for meaning - both ultimately disappointingly unsuccessful.
I gather that this book, the first one that F. Scott Fitzgerald published, was wildly successful when it was first published, in 1920. It really spoke to the Lost Generation. Well, reading it now some 90 years later, it does not have the same impact - nor could it.
As a window on the Lost Generation, or at least on their tastes, it is quite interesting. As I read the book, I could not help but reflect on a thinker I knew many years ago who spoke of people who loved themselves best, but were forever on a fruitless search to find someone who would love them more. All of the characters in This Side of Paradise have that same problem - a deep and overwhelming love for themselves which makes them unable to give unconditionally of themselves.
I suppose that is why I did not find myself enjoying this book at any point - there is nothing uplifting here. The crippled souls of the characters only inspired pity in me, as I watched what I knew to be their fruitless search for love and meaning.
So, if you are interested in the Lost Generation and the 1920s, then you will probably enjoy this book. If you are looking for a work of literature that will feed your soul and send you forward, then you will probably not enjoy this book...as indeed, I did not.