It is amazing that one of the most beloved novels in American literature was once hated to such a degree as in the early 1900s. Fitzgerald himself knew it was a flop, possibly because the female characters were unlikable. Most novel reviewers thought the book had nothing special. That suddenly changed, as American soldiers came home from WWII. Many had been given a copy of The Great Gatsby to read while away at war, and brought their copies with them. Now that society had access to the book, a switch suddenly turned on and Gatsby became a huge success. It is fascinating that a new era of critics found some spark of literature to enjoy in a book thought nothing of.
Maybe someone thought highly of Fitzgerald’s novel early on and pushed for it to be in an Armed Services Edition, to boost its popularity. Even if this wasn’t the case, people learned from the impact giving items to the military had on its revival in society. M&Ms and Tabasco sauce were failing, but the Armed Forces brought them back again in a similar fashion to The Great Gatsby. Were it not for thousands of soldiers carrying their copy of Gatsby home, we most likely wouldn’t be reading it today. Makes one believe in the ripple effect.