‘Shot of Short’ #16: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald
Date Read: 18 January 2008
Available Online?: YES

Briefly: Excited at the birth of his new son, Mr. Roger Button (a businessman of significant standing in Antebellum Baltimore), rushes to the hospital to meet him. The cold reception and ‘sea’ of horrified faces that greet him on arrival however, soon reveal that something must be amiss, and that something is that Mrs. Button has in fact given birth to a ‘baby’ of seventy years of age. So begins the fascinating tale of Benjamin Button, a man forced to live his life in reverse, and to face up to all of the problems that being in such a unique position brings with it.

Afterthoughts: Due to its recent adaptation into a movie I stated a couple of days ago that I had to read this story sooner rather than later, lest the movie’s publicity bandwagon spoiled it for me – a major ‘bugbear’ of mine :o). I’m glad I did read it because this is a truly remarkable story from a truly remarkable writer. Making full use of his incredible prose, Fitzgerald tells a very clever story, and it’s one that’s a real thought-provoker. I’ve never considered what it must be like to live life in reverse (why would I, it’s a preposterous idea :o)), but boy does Fitzgerald paint such a notion so powerfully well. If you’ve any aversion to reading short stories, perhaps because you don’t consider them long enough or worth the bother, then I whole heartily recommend that you read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I’m sure it’ll change your whole perception!

Notable Quote: “Mr. Button’s eyes followed her pointing finger, and this is what he saw. Wrapped in a voluminous white blanket, and partly crammed into one of the cribs, there sat an old man apparently about seventy years of age. His sparse hair was almost white, and from his chin dripped a long smoke-colored beard, which waved absurdly back and forth, fanned by the breeze coming in at the window. He looked up at Mr. Button with dim, faded eyes in which lurked a puzzled question..”

Rating: ★★★★★

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

Comments

  1. I loved the short story also. On my blog, I’m writing about movies that could be nominated for the Oscar for writing the best adapted screenplay (for which I have absolutely no qualification to do, but it’s fun), and looking at if from that angle, I don’t know why the writer called the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” because the greatest similarity is the title. This is an old concept and it’s interesting to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s take on it.

  2. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
    says:

    Glad you enjoyed it too Kim, and hey ‘having fun’ is the best qualification you can have for blogging, because it’s sure to show through in your writing.

    So the only real similarity between the two is the title? Does that mean people who have never read Fitzgerald (and particularly this story) will get the wrong impression of him? I hope not!

  3. I wonder if I can find this story online. Do you know of any place that has it?

  4. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
    says:

    Hehe Rebecca. Scroll up to the top of this post and there is a direct link to an online version of the story. I always try to link to an online version whenever I can and thankfully, as this is in the public domain, it’s freely avalable.

    Hope you enjoy it
    Warmest
    Rob

  5. Wow. Thank you for the link. I am going to read this now.

    My recent short story read was Hair by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Link

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Looks like you enjoyed Adiche’s Hair Veens. I’m going to check this one out myself in the near future.
      Thanks
      Rob