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