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Daisy Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Monday, August 8, 2022

 

Author: Libby Sternberg

Publisher: Bancroft Press

ISBN: 978-1-61088-587-4

There are two sides toevery story, and as someone once said: “Beware of the half-truth.You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.”

If you read F. ScottFitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, you are aware the yarn isnarrated through the voice of Nick Carraway. He was Jay Gatsby’sneighbor and the cousin of Daisy Faye Buchanan.

Libby Sternberg’s Daisypreserves the outline of The Great Gatsby, but as shepoints out in a recent conversation with Master’s Degree writingstudent Andrea L. Dorten: “I only wanted to stick to the outline ofthe plot of the major story, not its details.”

Thus, the love storybetween Jay and Daisy, which ensued during a chaotic summer in the1920s, is maintained and is pivotal to the narrative. However, itdraws on a new perspective when we tune in to the voice of Daisydisclosing how events unfolded.

In the last few pages ofthe yarn, Sternberg writes: “when she came up with the idea ofimagining the Gatsby story from Daisy’s point of view, she knew thenovel could not be a mere point-by-point retelling of that famoustale. It had to convey something more, something readers eitherdidn’t get from the original or felt was missing and would enjoyseeing, a sort of behind-the-scenes look at the story.”

She wanted a fresh take asif Fitzgerald’s story had not been read before Daisy.

Sternberg portrays Daisyas a figure far from being a capricious woman who is irrational,unstable and empty-headed. She explains her Daisy is nothing likeFitzgerald’s character, who “is not real, a woman two men covetedbut whose physicality is something distant or even symbolic, likethat green light at the end of her pier. She is a possession, soughtafter and jealously guarded.”

Daisy is instead someonewho is conflicted as she explores the uneasiness that prevail betweensecurity and autonomy, fidelity and infidelity, defying convention,and having a lover while hanging on in a loveless marriage. She alsoquestions if she can recapture the pre-war past where she wasinvolved with Jay in an Eden in which they had grown up. As she tellsherself, “There is no going back, only moving forward.”

When Daisy’s friendJordan mentions that if you wish to have a lover, as men do all thetime, why should she hold back? (Both are aware that Daisy’shusband, Tom, is a philanderer and has a mistress). Daisy counters,reminding Jordan she has taken risks, and it does not require courageto take a lover, as Jordan believes, but bravery to make a go ofthings.

The down-to-earth side ofDaisy's personality is affirmed when she admits to herself that shecraves to escape Tom for Jay, with whom she is carrying on a liaison.Still, upon reflection, she questions whether she could stick aroundwith him. And as she remarks: “A fog of uncertainty blocked me fromseeing that future clearly; I wanted to plan for contingencies.”Could she recapture her pre-war past where she was involved with Jayin a fairyland, where it was peaceful, hopeful, loving and gentle?She realizes there is no going back, only moving forward, and she resolves that she will never be anyone's fool again. “I'd not bethe golden girl. I'd not be the one treated like an object, or agoddess to be used.”

Another variation, and ajolt from Fitzgerald’s fiction, concerns the letter Daisy receivesfrom Jay on the eve of her marriage to Tom. Her version, as differentfrom Carraway’s, which incidentally almost had her calling off thewedding, pins down the real motorist of the automobile that ran overher husband’s mistress.

The evocative prosegathers strength and clarity as the novel evolves. Sternberg remindsus the 1920s were a challenging period for many American women. Theirtask was to raise children, keep house, provide emotional support fortheir husbands, and contribute to society. Instead, they weredepicted as the weaker sex requiring protection, frail beingsincompetent of doing everything that man could do. The era wasfurther marked by a deeply divided America, where the affluence ofmany Americans was in harsh contrast to the hardship of millions ofothers.

You may ask if you shouldread The Great Gatsby before undertaking Daisy? The answer isno. You don’t have to read the original or be acquainted withFitzgerald to appreciate this novel for its own sake, with its tightwriting, crisp dialogue, and a protagonist with brains, poise, andboldness.

Sternberg has created adelicious story, ambitious in scope and absorbing.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Libby Sternberg

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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