If you teach a book over and over and over again, it can become easy to forget that it is the students’ first time. By the time I finished Corrigan’s book, I was not only jealous of my students who get to encounter it for the first time, but I was also eager to read it again and explore the many connections, interpretations, and resources that she offers in a friendly, self-aware manner. She knows she’s obsessive and is the first to poke fun at herself about it. I’d love to be in her class.
I am, as at least a few of you know, no fan of biography as interpretation, but Corrigan makes a reasonable and balanced case that it matters here. But she balances it by offering some of her own ideas about the book as well as a look into how, when and why the book moved from its initial, decidedly mixed reception to its place in the high school canon today.
If you’re a fan of Gatsby and / or need to be reinvigorated about teaching it, this is definitely the book for you.