Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. 1922. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 31 pages.

First sentence: As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home.

This short story for those that aren't familiar with it is a life-story with a twist. (Hence why it's curious I suppose!) Benjamin Button is born an old man and he dies a wee babe. He lives his life backward, rarely fitting in with others. Though it's interesting how he has several unique opportunities to bond with his family. As a baby, he bonds with his grandfather. They're both old--or at least both look old. As a college man, he looks about fifty, and he is taken to be the brother of his father. So he has a few years where he and his father can bond well and understand one another. And as an old man, he looks to be school age--just the right age to play with his grandchildren. (I believe--though I could have it wrong--that he attends school or kindergarten alongside a grandson.) However, for the most part, this is much more of a curse than a blessing. Especially when it comes to having relationships. His wife was looking for an older man, a mature one, but what she got was a mysterious man whose continuing youth separated them. The younger he appeared, the more awkward his family life became. There was shame, anger, and frustration mixed in as well.

While it requires you to suspend your disbelief a lot--especially in the beginning--the short story was interesting.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko said...

I saw the movie--which I loved--but haven't read the short story yet. I wonder what the main differences are between the movie and the book.

Laura's Reviews said...

I need to read this story again - I remember it being very different from F. Scott Fitzgerald's other stories. I really like his collected short stories. They are pretty interesting as you read them chronologically from bright-eyed jazz-aged youth to a bitter alcoholic middle aged man.

Hazra said...

The story seems to be quite different from the movie. Got to read it.

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

We just got the film from our online dvd rental place and I was thinking should I read the short story first or not? I'm still undecided.

Ceri said...

I didn't fancy the film at all - it looked like such a vanity project what with Brad and Cate looking all golden and ergg around Oscar time - but I'm really eager to read this. Nice review :-) I'll definitely give it a go.