A Powerful Take on a Timeless Classic: Review of Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

A Powerful Take on a Timeless Classic: Review of Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby. Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.

Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby – before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan. Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well. Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.

Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922 when all three of their lives are on the brink of unravelling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.

While I’ve always loved The Great Gatsby, the novel itself does have some faults – namely, its treatment of the female characters. Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle and the briefly mentioned Catherine are presented to the reader from the perspective of the narrator, Nick Carraway, who is himself, strongly influenced by the ‘greatness’ of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby. Though it is an incredible piece of literature that is deserving of its candidature as the ‘Great American Novel,’ it is, essentially, a story that privileges male voices and the male gaze.

In Beautiful Little Fools, bestselling author Jillian Cantor reimagines F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless novel, telling the story from the perspective of Daisy, Jordan and Catherine, whose lives are unravelled by one man’s romantic obsession. It’s a powerful take on the classic tale, one that gives voice to these women, recasting them not as beautiful little fools whom the male characters fight over, but as fully realised individuals with their own stories that are worth telling. In another fascinating departure from the original text, the novel is reframed as a detective narrative… and one of these women pulled the trigger.

Packed with tension, intrigue and rich with the dazzling decadence of the Jazz Age, Beautiful Little Fools is the Gatsby retelling we didn’t know we needed, one that forces readers to re-examine all the classic stories they hold dear.

Buy a copy of Beautiful Little Fools here.

Reviews

Jillian Cantor on Rewriting The Great Gatsby from the Women's Perspective

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          Publisher details

          Beautiful Little Fools
          Author
          Jillian Cantor
          Publisher
          Simon and Schuster
          Genre
          Fiction
          Released
          05 January, 2022
          ISBN
          9781761105371

          Synopsis

          A powerful reimagining of The Great Gatsby from the perspective of the three women whose lives are unravelled by one man’s romantic obsession.

          On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby. Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.

          Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby – before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan. Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well. Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.

          Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, when all three of their lives are on the brink of unravelling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.

          This inspired reimagining of the glittering Jazz Age world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic is a quintessential tale of money and power, marriage and friendship, love and desire – and ultimately the murder of a man tormented by the past and driven by a destructive longing that can never be fulfilled.
          Jillian Cantor
          About the author

          Jillian Cantor

          Jillian Cantor is the internationally bestselling author of ten novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot and The Lost Letter. Her books have been translated into 13 languages and chosen for Amazon Best of the Month, LibraryReads, Indie Next. She lives in Arizona.

          Books by Jillian Cantor

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