“I can't stand it to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it."
This is a quote from "The Sun Also Rises" (TSAR) by Ernest Hemingway, also known as my favorite book of all time. Everybody has a book like that: one you can pick up at any time and start reading from the middle.
I had to read TSAR for my "Introduction to Fiction" class, and I didn't think much of it when I read the title on the syllabus. Actually, scratch that: I was dreading the day when I would have to read that book. Why? Because I'd only heard terrible things about it. So imagine my surprise when I actually started reading and then couldn't put it down.
One of the reasons I love this book is because it's just so unconventional. This book was not only written as a story, but it acts as the voice of the lost generation. It sums up all of the feelings of post-World War I veterans like main character Jake Barnes and the other "just as lost" members of society. This novel was written for a specific time period, yet I still found it relatable.
What might be most compelling about this book is its satirical way of getting people to fight for what they believe in and chase their dreams. Jake transfers his despair onto everyone around him and no one is truly happy. The book is unconventional in the way that none of the characters ever get what they want. They lack dedication; they lack passion. And seeing them fall short of what they want from life is somehow inspiring.
After reading this book, I found myself to be more driven. Bullfighting is a motif that shows up quite a bit in this story, especially the comparison of bullfighters to the main characters. Just as a bullfighter needs to be passionate about bullfighting, you need to be passionate about what you do to be successful in life. This fact really resonated with me.
I needed to find out what I was passionate about, and I had to roll with it. This book showed me that simply going through life's routine isn't enough. You need to have a passion that drives you.