I first read The Great Gatsby in January 1965 and immediately fell in love with it. I was sixteen, just the right age to be impressed by its impossibly romantic vision.
I've read it many times since, most recently three weeks ago. It still makes me cry. Not the story but the way it's told. Fitzgerald writes like an angel and he's still my favourite writer and Gatsby is still my favourite book. It's what made me want to be a writer. I went to university determined to emulate Fitzgerald but all I succeeded in doing was drinking like him.
Fitzgerald did not believe he was one of the great writers - not up there with Tolstoy, or Dickens or even Joyce for example. But he did believe he was top of the second division. I think he was being too modest. To my mind Gatsby remains a small but almost flawless masterpiece. I would give anything to write a book a fraction as good as that.
Fitzgerald died at the age of forty-four believing he was a failure. I'm fifty-seven and if I don't get some visitors to this site soon I'm going to go the same way.