I never liked Gatsby, but I like recommendations. Tender is the spectacular study of one man, Mr. Dick Diver. Told in the third person, the three sections are dominated by three characters thoughts: Rosemary, Dick, and Nicole. Tender is a somewhat autobiographical look into Fitzgerald’s own life of love and mental illness. They are expats living it up on the French Riviera during the depression. I’m remembering why I didn’t like Fitzgerald in high school and college; while reading Tender I did begin to appreciate and even love his style.
We first meet Rosemary, the young American actress that has just hit the big time in a Hollywood production. She stumbled to the French Riviera with her mother and while on the beach, happens upon a lovely young couple-Dick and Nicole Diver. She falls in love with Dick, and we learn of all the upstanding and admirable qualities that Dick possesses. The three of them get along famously, and nothing scandalous occurs.
Dick is a young American psychologist writing a book about mental treatments. In Book two, his life is explained. He married Nicole, who was a mental patient, but not his patient. She is the youngest daughter of Chicago “old money.” The love they share is a fantastic thing. They have two children. Dick grows weary of the mental episodes Nicole displays and runs away to work and write and lecture. There is nothing funny about the sadness of the love between these two. It’s meant to fall apart.
I’m willing to give Gatsby another chance, I was young, and it’s easier now to appreciate style, and not use one’s personal life as a reason to not enjoy good writing.