BOOK REVIEW – F. SCOTT FITZGERALD – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON 1921 Various editions.
Recently filmed curiosity of a short science fiction / fantasy story by the author of The Great Gatsby, and though an intriguing, ingenious premise for a story, it seems strangely synoptic and incomplete.
Benjamin Button literally lives his life backwards, being born at the age of seventy, fully able to think and talk like an adult. The medical profession are shocked by his nature and no explanation is given for the strange miracle.
Button is raised as if he was a child, forced to play with toys and other children even though he would rather smoke cigars. He has to be spanked when he is bad.
As he grows younger, he enlists in the army, fighting bravely but stirring up resentment from younger looking men of the same age, though he finds love with a woman who has a liking for more mature men, even though he isn’t. As he grows younger and his wife grows older, they drift apart emotionally.
Button rejoins the army, granted the rank of a general due to previous experience, but he is dismissed when few are able to take his sensible orders seriously from one now so young.
Button finds his knowledge fading as he approaches infancy and he now likes toys. His son & grandson now look older than him, and eventually all goes dark and he remembers nothing.
There are problems with the story’s tense and point of view. Though written in the third person, at times it seems to try to show Button’s own perspective and the squeamishness about depicting either an infant death or showing Button actually become a foetus leave events strangely incomplete.
A great idea for a story that was never fully developed.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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