I have read a couple of short stories and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. So, the first short story of the year for me is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I am a little familiar with his writing style, and I have enjoyed the stories I have read so far.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button follows Benjamin, who is born as a 70-year-old. Benjamin lives his life in reverse. He is born 70, so he becomes younger as the years’ pass. This concept of a character aging in reverse, going from old to an infant, is something that immediately fascinated me. It was one of the major reasons for me to start reading this story.
Benjamin faces a lot of challenges due to his nature. His father is reluctant to accept him so, he makes him do all the things that a baby would do. Benjamin has the mind and maturity of an older person, and such activities do not interest him. For his father’s sake, Benjamin does many things that, he doesn’t find particularly interesting. His father is determined to make him act as if he is a child and not a man. As Benjamin becomes younger, his bond with his father improves a lot. Later, he also gets married and has a son. The marriage starts to deteriorate when his wife becomes older and Benjamin younger.
Benjamin goes through all of the specific and memorable moments in his life. He goes to school, college, gets married, runs a successful business, and has a son. It is sad how he is treated by his father, to begin with, then his wife, and lastly, by his son. The narrative starts changing as he becomes younger. The tone and understanding of the character match very well with his age. I thought it was a clever way to show the reverse of Benjamin’s age. Benjamin’s mother is never mentioned after his birth. I assume she passed away or was seriously unwell because she did give birth to a full-grown man.
The concept of being an ‘outsider’ is reinforced throughout the story. Benjamin doesn’t fit into the norms of society. He tries to fits in, but he is ill-treated and misunderstood; he is different than what is considered conventional. So, he is almost like an outcast. He never really fits in the society. He has trouble getting along and maintaining relationships in his life because he is unconventional. It is not accepted by the people around him. They make him feel like he is doing it on purpose, when he, himself could never understand it.
It’s a good short. I liked the narration, and the concept was intriguing. It maintains a good pace throughout the story, and the third-person narration really helps you understand and empathize with Benjamin. Overall, I liked the story and enjoyed reading it.
*Click on the book cover above to get a copy.
Support the Blog!