the curious case of benjamin button book review

Yipee ki-yay, motherbooker

Swearing, rants, reviews, on every level.

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Book Review – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

wp-15824871811067290616603783684298.jpg

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most well-known stories and there’s a very good reason for that. Telling the story of a man who ages backwards is an interesting concept. Not least because it begs the question: “just how did a woman give birth to a fully-grown 70-year-old man?” You’ve got to feel sorry for Mrs Button for having to go through that labour. No wonder we don’t hear from her again.  If she’s actually alive, she’d be bloody traumatised and in a lot of pain, I imagine. The short story comes out of the idea that growing old sucks, so it’s not fair that it should come at the end of our life. Instead of enjoying retirement and ignoring the inevitable sting of mortality, human beings get older, slower, and more reflective. Why should we be resigned to live as an old person sitting in a chair and remembering our glory days? What would happen if our lifespan was reversed? If we were born fully-formed and regressed back to a state of innocence? If our lives ended with a lack of awareness and no memories? F. Scott Fitzgerald decided it was time to find out.

There are plenty of problems throughout Benjamin Button’s life. Not only does his father have trouble accepting him as his son but he must contend with childish endeavours despite having the mind of a much older man. As he grows up, his body gets younger and things start to become a little easier. He even starts bonding more with his father. Despite a few stumbling blocks, Benjamin goes through all of the traditional defining moments in a man’s life. He goes to school, attends college, and then starts working for his father. Luckily Benjamin still manages to find himself a wife. He happens to bump into the only young woman who was looking for a much older man. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to maintain a marriage when one of you continues to look older and the other appears to get younger.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of those great short stories that take an absurd concept and play it straight. Much like Kafka’s Metamorphosis , it requires the reader to suspend a certain amount of disbelief but the payoff ends up being just as good. Throughout the story, Benjamin is considered as something of an oddity but never as anything to be incredibly worried about. If you’re willing to go with the concept, it will tell you a great deal about humanity and the bittersweet reality of ageing. The fact that Benjamin’s story is presented in such a realist manner means that Fitzgerald can play with the normal emotions associated with death. As the novel goes on and Benjamin moves closer to his demise, the story becomes weirdly uplifting. Instead of being full of regrets or feeling scared, Benjamin is a baby with a really small sense of the world.

The story is really well balanced and has a lot to say about society. We see Benajmin rejected by so many people for being an outsider. His father and son believe he is failing to be a real man and his wife accuses him of just being stubborn. And, likewise, Benajmin finds it difficult to connect with his peers as he grows up. As a child, he can’t enjoy childish pursuits. He’s an outsider and is made to feel like he doesn’t belong. There is a great mix of humour and sadness here. There is comedy in the way that Benjamin is so often mistaken for his father’s brother or his son’s nephew. Yet, he is often badly treated by the people who should love him and, as he gets older, he moves further away from his family. There is a scene in which a 10-year-old Benjamin is playing with toys as everyone else welcomes the birth of his grandchild.

It’s a short read but there is a lot to love about  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button . It poses a great many questions about age and identity. How does our age affect the way people see us? How does it affect the way we live our lives? Does age really prevent us from doing certain things and should it? By flipping the narrative and presenting Benjamin as being a man with age and experience from birth, Fitzgerald questions the importance of them both. If you haven’t read it or have only experience the film, I would suggest you give it a go.

Share this:

2 thoughts on “ book review – the curious case of benjamin button by f. scott fitzgerald ”.

  • Pingback: Bookish Post – February Reading Wrap-Up – Yipee ki-yay, motherbooker
  • Pingback: Sunday Rundown: That’s What She Read – Yipee ki-yay, motherbooker

Leave a comment Cancel reply

' src=

  • Already have a WordPress.com account? Log in now.
  • Subscribe Subscribed
  • Copy shortlink
  • Report this content
  • View post in Reader
  • Manage subscriptions
  • Collapse this bar

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

F. scott fitzgerald, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Introduction

The curious case of benjamin button: plot summary, the curious case of benjamin button: detailed summary & analysis, the curious case of benjamin button: themes, the curious case of benjamin button: quotes, the curious case of benjamin button: characters, the curious case of benjamin button: symbols, the curious case of benjamin button: literary devices, the curious case of benjamin button: theme wheel, brief biography of f. scott fitzgerald.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button PDF

Historical Context of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Other books related to the curious case of benjamin button.

  • Full Title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • When Published: May 27, 1922
  • Literary Period: The Jazz Age; Modernism
  • Genre: Short Story
  • Setting: Baltimore between 1860 and roughly 1930
  • Climax: Benjamin becomes an infant and dies.
  • Antagonist: Societal expectations
  • Point of View: Third Person

Extra Credit for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Big Screen. In 2008, the screenwriter Eric Roth adapted a loose interpretation of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” as a feature-length film. The movie starred Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Mahershala Ali, and a number of other well-known actors.

Medical Condition. Although the premise of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is highly improbable, there is a real medical condition—called progeria—that causes children to age extremely quickly (though not in reverse). Those afflicted with the disease often look elderly as children or teenagers, similar to how Benjamin starts off looking much older than his numerical age.

The LitCharts.com logo.

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Movie Review | 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

It’s the Age of a Child Who Grows From a Man

the curious case of benjamin button book review

By A.O. Scott

  • Dec. 24, 2008

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which occupies around 25 pages in the collected works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a slender piece of whimsy, a charming fantasy about a man who ages in reverse, descending through the years from newborn senescence to terminal infancy. As Fitzgerald unravels it, Benjamin’s story serves as the pretext for some amusing, fairly superficial observations about child rearing, undergraduate behavior and courtship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

From this odd, somewhat unpromising kernel, the director David Fincher and the screenwriter Eric Roth have cultivated a lush, romantic hothouse bloom, a film that shares only a title and a basic premise with its literary source. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” more than two and a half hours long, sighs with longing and simmers with intrigue while investigating the philosophical conundrums and emotional paradoxes of its protagonist’s condition in a spirit that owes more to Jorge Luis Borges than to Fitzgerald.

While the film’s plot progresses, with a few divagations, in a straight line through the decades of Benjamin Button’s life, the backward vector of that biography turns this “Curious Case” into a genuine mystery. And the puzzles it invites us to contemplate — in consistently interesting, if not always dramatically satisfying ways — are deep and imposing, concerning the passage of time, the elusiveness of experience and the Janus-faced nature of love.

Above all, though, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a triumph of technique. Building on the advances of pioneers like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Robert Zemeckis — and on his own previous work adapting newfangled means to traditional cinematic ends — Mr. Fincher (“Fight Club,” “Zodiac”) has added a dimension of delicacy and grace to digital filmmaking. While it stands on the shoulders of breakthroughs like “Minority Report,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “Forrest Gump” (for which Mr. Roth wrote the screenplay), “Benjamin Button” may be the most dazzling such hybrid yet, precisely because it is the subtlest. While he does treat the audience to a few grand, special-effect showpieces, Mr. Fincher concentrates his ingenuity on the setting and the characters, in particular — and most arrestingly — on the faces of his stars, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt.

Ms. Blanchett is Daisy, a dancer, bohemian and all-around free spirit who ages gracefully, before our eyes, into a stately modern matron and then into a wasted, breathless old woman. Mr. Pitt, for the most part, plays Benjamin, who is born, looking like a man in his 70s, into a prominent New Orleans family in 1918. I say for the most part because near the end of the movie Mr. Pitt is replaced by younger and younger children and also because, at the beginning, he is evoked by an uncanny computer-generated confection that seems to have been distilled from his essence. This creature, tiny and wizened, is at once boy and man, but in every scene the ratio is readjusted, until the strapping figure of a familiar movie star emerges, gradually and all but imperceptibly.

The inner life of Benjamin Button, abandoned at birth by his stricken father (Jason Flemyng) and raised by the infinitely kind caretaker of a nursing home (Taraji P. Henson), is harder to grasp than his outer appearance, in part because Mr. Pitt seems more interested in the nuances of reticence than in the dynamics of expression. It’s true that Benjamin’s condition imposes a certain detachment: he is at once innocent and ancient, almost never who he appears to be.

But even though Mr. Pitt’s coolness is a perfectly defensible approach to this character, his elusiveness, from one film to the next, is starting to look more defensive than daring. His recent performances have been devoted mainly to the study of his own magnetism, a quality he earnestly explores in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and playfully subverts in “Burn After Reading.” It goes without saying that Mr. Pitt has charisma to burn, and he is a capable and inventive actor, but he will only be a great one if he risks breaking himself open on screen as he did, briefly, in “Babel.”

And so, while Benjamin’s progress through life drives the narrative of “The Curious Case,” he is (as the title suggests) more an object of contemplation than a flesh-and-blood (or bit-and-byte) candidate for our empathy. His jaunt through the 20th century is certainly fun to watch, with an episodic rhythm that recalls old movie serials or, even more, the endlessly dilated adventures of newspaper comic-strip heroes. After some initiation into the pleasures of the flesh and the bottle in the city of his birth, Young Button (Old Button) hires onto a tramp steamer. He tarries a while in Russia, sampling caviar and adultery (with a superbly soignée Tilda Swinton) before World War II intrudes.

Later there will be sailboats and motorcycles as the ambient light turns gold along with Mr. Pitt’s hair. There will not be much in the way of big events or public happenings — Benjamin Button is, finally, no Forrest Gump — and though he is a white Southerner raised by a black woman, he seems untouched by racial turmoil or by much of anything beyond the mysteries of his peculiar destiny.

But the movie’s emotional center of gravity — the character who struggles and changes and feels — is Daisy, played by Ms. Blanchett from impetuous ingénue to near ghost with an almost otherworldly mixture of hauteur and heat. The story of Benjamin’s life is read to Daisy by her daughter (Julia Ormond) in a New Orleans hospital room in 2005, just as Hurricane Katrina is approaching the city. The imminence of the storm is a superfluous and unduly portentous device, since Katrina brings to mind precisely the hard, real-life miseries the movie has done everything in its power to avoid.

That power, though, is something to be reckoned with, and it resides in Mr. Fincher’s ability to use his unbelievable skills to turn an incredible conceit into a plausible love story. The romance between Daisy and Benjamin begins when both are chronologically pre-adolescents and Benjamin is, physically, a codger, but the initial element of pedophilic creepiness in the relationship gives way to other forms of awkwardness. Their love is uniquely perfect and enduring. At the same time, like any other love — like any movie — it is shadowed by disappointment and fated to end. In the case of “Benjamin Button,” I was sorry when it was over and happy to have seen it.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has some scenes of sex and violence.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

Opens on Thursday nationwide.

Directed by David Fincher; written by Eric Roth, based on a screen story by Mr. Roth and Robin Swicord and the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald; director of photography, Claudio Miranda; edited by Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall; music by Alexandre Desplat; production designer, Donald Graham Burt; produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Cean Chaffin; released by Paramount Pictures. Running time: 2 hours 47 minutes.

WITH: Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button), Cate Blanchett (Daisy), Taraji P. Henson (Queenie), Julia Ormond (Caroline), Jason Flemyng (Thomas Button), Elias Koteas (Monsieur Gateau), Tilda Swinton (Elizabeth Abbott) and Jared Harris (Captain Mike).

Movie Reviews

Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, and down he forgot as up he grew.

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Now streaming on:

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a splendidly made film based on a profoundly mistaken premise. It tells the story of a man who is old when he is born and an infant when he dies. All those around him, everyone he knows and loves, grow older in the usual way, and he passes them on the way down. As I watched the film, I became consumed by a conviction that this was simply wrong.

Let me paraphrase the oldest story I know: In the beginning, there was nothing, and then God said, "Let there be light." Everything comes after the beginning, and we all seem to share this awareness of the direction of time's arrow. There is a famous line by e.e. cummings that might seem to apply to Benjamin Button: and down he forgot as up he grew. But no, it involves the process of forgetting our youth as we grow older.

We begin a movie or novel and assume it will tell a story in chronological time. Flashbacks and flash-forwards, we understand. If it moves backward through a story (Harold Pinter's " Betrayal "), its scenes reflect a chronology seen out of order. If a day repeats itself (Harold Ramis' " Groundhog Day "), each new day begins with the hero awakening and moving forward. If time is fractured into branching paths (" Synecdoche, New York "), it is about how we attempt to control our lives. Even time-travel stories always depend on the inexorable direction of time.

Yes, you say, but Benjamin Button's story is a fantasy. I realize that. It can invent as much as it pleases. But the film's admirers speak of how deeply they were touched, what meditations it invoked. I felt instead: Life doesn't work this way. We are an observer of our passage, and so are others. It has been proposed that one reason people marry is because they desire a witness to their lives. How could we perform that act of love if we were aging in opposite directions?

The movie's premise devalues any relationship, makes futile any friendship or romance, and spits, not into the face of destiny, but backward into the maw of time. It even undermines the charm of compound interest. In the film, Benjamin ( Brad Pitt ) as an older man is enchanted by a younger girl ( Cate Blanchett ). Later in the film, when he is younger and she is older, they make love. This is presumably meant to be the emotional high point. I shuddered. No! No! What are they thinking during sex? What fantasies apply? Does he remember her as a girl? Does she picture the old man she loved?

Pitt will of course be nominated for best actor and may deserve it because of his heroic struggle in the performance. Yes, he had to undergo much makeup, create body language and perform physically to be manipulated by computers. He portrays the Ages of Man with much skill. That goes with the territory. But how did he prepare emotionally ? What exercises would the Method suggest? You can't go through life waving goodbye. He is born looking like a baby with all the infirmities old age. He grows younger, until he resembles Brad Pitt, and then a younger Brad Pitt, and then -- we do not follow him all the way as he recedes into the temporal distance.

The film was directed by David Fincher , no stranger to labyrinths (" Zodiac ," " Fight Club "). The screenplay is by Eric Roth , who wrote " Forrest Gump " and reprises the same approach, by having his hero's condition determine his life experience. To say, however, that Roth "adapted" the original short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald would be putting it mildly. Fitzgerald wrote a comic farce, which Roth has made a forlorn elegy. Roth's approach makes Benjamin the size of a baby at birth. Fitzgerald sardonically but consistently goes the other way: The child is born as an old man, and grows smaller and shorter until he is finally a bottle-fed baby. Not much is said about Benjamin's mother, which is a pity, because he is 5-feet-8 at birth, and I wonder how much pushing that required.

I said the film is well-made, and so it is. The actors are the best: Taraji P. Henson , Julia Ormond , Elias Koteas , Tilda Swinton . Given the resources and talent here, quite a movie might have resulted. But it's so hard to care about this story. There is no lesson to be learned. No catharsis is possible. In Fitzgerald's version, even Benjamin himself fails to comprehend his fate. He's born as a man with a waist-length beard who can read the encyclopedia, but in childhood, plays with toys and throws temper tantrums, has to be spanked and then disappears into a wordless reverie. Benjamin rejects these logical consequences because, I suspect, an audience wouldn't sit still for them.

According to the oddsmakers at MovieCityNews, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is third among the top five favorites for best picture. It may very well win. It expends Oscar-worthy talents on an off-putting gimmick. I can't imagine many people wanting to see the movie twice. There was another film this year that isn't in the "top five," or listed among the front-runners at all, and it's a profound consideration of the process of living and aging. That's Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York." It will be viewed and valued decades from now. You mark my words.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

Now playing

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The Contestant

Monica castillo.

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The Idea of You

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Asphalt City

Glenn kenny.

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Girls State

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Evil Does Not Exist

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Christy Lemire

Film credits.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie poster

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking

166 minutes

Elias Koteas as Monsieur Devereux

Cate Blanchett as Daisy

Tilda Swinton as Elizabeth Abbott

Taraji P. Henson as Queenie

Julia Ormond as Caroline

Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button

Jason Flemyng as Thomas Button

Directed by

  • David Fincher

Based on a short story by

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald

Latest blog posts

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The 10 Most Anticipated Films of Cannes 2024

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The Importance of Connections in Ryusuke Hamaguchi Films

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Saving Film History One Frame at a Time: A Preview of Restored & Rediscovered Series at the Jacob Burns Film Center

the curious case of benjamin button book review

The Beatles Were Never More Human Than in ‘Let It Be’

Log in or sign up for Rotten Tomatoes

Trouble logging in?

By continuing, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from the Fandango Media Brands .

By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and to receive email from the Fandango Media Brands .

By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes.

Email not verified

Let's keep in touch.

Rotten Tomatoes Newsletter

Sign up for the Rotten Tomatoes newsletter to get weekly updates on:

  • Upcoming Movies and TV shows
  • Trivia & Rotten Tomatoes Podcast
  • Media News + More

By clicking "Sign Me Up," you are agreeing to receive occasional emails and communications from Fandango Media (Fandango, Vudu, and Rotten Tomatoes) and consenting to Fandango's Privacy Policy and Terms and Policies . Please allow 10 business days for your account to reflect your preferences.

OK, got it!

Movies / TV

No results found.

  • What's the Tomatometer®?
  • Login/signup

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Movies in theaters

  • Opening this week
  • Top box office
  • Coming soon to theaters
  • Certified fresh movies

Movies at home

  • Fandango at Home
  • Netflix streaming
  • Prime Video
  • Most popular streaming movies
  • What to Watch New

Certified fresh picks

  • Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Link to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
  • The Fall Guy Link to The Fall Guy
  • The Last Stop in Yuma County Link to The Last Stop in Yuma County

New TV Tonight

  • Doctor Who: Season 1
  • Blood of Zeus: Season 2
  • Pretty Little Liars: Summer School: Season 2
  • Black Twitter: A People's History: Season 1
  • Dark Matter: Season 1
  • Bodkin: Season 1
  • Hollywood Con Queen: Season 1
  • The Chi: Season 6
  • Reginald the Vampire: Season 2
  • Love Undercover: Season 1

Most Popular TV on RT

  • Baby Reindeer: Season 1
  • A Man in Full: Season 1
  • Fallout: Season 1
  • Hacks: Season 3
  • The Sympathizer: Season 1
  • Them: Season 2
  • Dead Boy Detectives: Season 1
  • X-Men '97: Season 1
  • Best TV Shows
  • Most Popular TV
  • TV & Streaming News

Certified fresh pick

  • Doctor Who: Season 1 Link to Doctor Who: Season 1
  • All-Time Lists
  • Binge Guide
  • Comics on TV
  • Five Favorite Films
  • Video Interviews
  • Weekend Box Office
  • Weekly Ketchup
  • What to Watch

100 Best Movies on Tubi (May 2024)

The Best Shows on Amazon Prime Video to Watch Right Now (May 2024)

Asian-American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage

What to Watch: In Theaters and On Streaming

Rotten Tomatoes Predicts the 2024 Emmy Nominations

8 Things To Know About The New Season Of Doctor Who

  • Trending on RT
  • Furiosa First Reactions
  • Streaming in May
  • New Doctor Who
  • Planet of the Apes Reviews

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Where to watch.

Watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with a subscription on Paramount+, rent on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, or buy on Fandango at Home, Prime Video.

What to Know

Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an epic fantasy tale with rich storytelling backed by fantastic performances.

Critics Reviews

Audience reviews, cast & crew.

David Fincher

Benjamin Button

Cate Blanchett

Taraji P. Henson

Julia Ormond

Jason Flemyng

Thomas Button

Movie Clips

More like this, movie news & guides, this movie is featured in the following articles..

the curious case of benjamin button book review

  • Literature & Fiction
  • Genre Fiction

Amazon prime logo

Enjoy fast, free delivery, exclusive deals, and award-winning movies & TV shows with Prime Try Prime and start saving today with fast, free delivery

Amazon Prime includes:

Fast, FREE Delivery is available to Prime members. To join, select "Try Amazon Prime and start saving today with Fast, FREE Delivery" below the Add to Cart button.

  • Cardmembers earn 5% Back at Amazon.com with a Prime Credit Card.
  • Unlimited Free Two-Day Delivery
  • Streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with limited ads on Prime Video.
  • A Kindle book to borrow for free each month - with no due dates
  • Listen to over 2 million songs and hundreds of playlists
  • Unlimited photo storage with anywhere access

Important:  Your credit card will NOT be charged when you start your free trial or if you cancel during the trial period. If you're happy with Amazon Prime, do nothing. At the end of the free trial, your membership will automatically upgrade to a monthly membership.

Audible Logo

Buy new: .savingPriceOverride { color:#CC0C39!important; font-weight: 300!important; } .reinventMobileHeaderPrice { font-weight: 400; } #apex_offerDisplay_mobile_feature_div .reinventPriceSavingsPercentageMargin, #apex_offerDisplay_mobile_feature_div .reinventPricePriceToPayMargin { margin-right: 4px; } $6.99 $ 6 . 99 FREE delivery Friday, May 17 on orders shipped by Amazon over $35 Ships from: Amazon.com Sold by: Amazon.com

Return this item for free.

Free returns are available for the shipping address you chose. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition: no shipping charges

  • Go to your orders and start the return
  • Select the return method

Save with Used - Good .savingPriceOverride { color:#CC0C39!important; font-weight: 300!important; } .reinventMobileHeaderPrice { font-weight: 400; } #apex_offerDisplay_mobile_feature_div .reinventPriceSavingsPercentageMargin, #apex_offerDisplay_mobile_feature_div .reinventPricePriceToPayMargin { margin-right: 4px; } $5.78 $ 5 . 78 FREE delivery Monday, May 20 on orders shipped by Amazon over $35 Ships from: Amazon Sold by: Daily Deals 504

Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required .

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Follow the authors

Kevin Cornell

Image Unavailable

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • To view this video download Flash Player

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Paperback – January 13, 2009

Purchase options and add-ons.

  • Print length 48 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher BN Publishing
  • Publication date January 13, 2009
  • Dimensions 6 x 0.11 x 9 inches
  • ISBN-10 1607960710
  • ISBN-13 978-1607960713
  • Lexile measure 460L
  • See all details

The Amazon Book Review

Frequently bought together

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories (Penguin Classics)

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ BN Publishing; Reprint edition (January 13, 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1607960710
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1607960713
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 460L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.72 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.11 x 9 inches
  • #10,142 in TV, Movie & Game Tie-In Fiction
  • #62,835 in Short Stories (Books)
  • #79,240 in Classic Literature & Fiction

About the authors

Kevin cornell.

Kevin Cornell is an illustrator and author from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Only a few brave souls have spotted him in the wild. Those who have, report he is remarkably polite, and has impeccably groomed fur.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as 'grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'.

In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.

Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a "generation" ... he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'

Nunzio DeFilippis

Nunzio DeFilippis

Discover more of the author’s books, see similar authors, read author blogs and more

Customer reviews

Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

  • Sort reviews by Top reviews Most recent Top reviews

Top reviews from the United States

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. please try again later..

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Top reviews from other countries

the curious case of benjamin button book review

  • Amazon Newsletter
  • About Amazon
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Press Center
  • Investor Relations
  • Amazon Devices
  • Amazon Science
  • Sell on Amazon
  • Sell apps on Amazon
  • Supply to Amazon
  • Protect & Build Your Brand
  • Become an Affiliate
  • Become a Delivery Driver
  • Start a Package Delivery Business
  • Advertise Your Products
  • Self-Publish with Us
  • Become an Amazon Hub Partner
  • › See More Ways to Make Money
  • Amazon Visa
  • Amazon Store Card
  • Amazon Secured Card
  • Amazon Business Card
  • Shop with Points
  • Credit Card Marketplace
  • Reload Your Balance
  • Amazon Currency Converter
  • Your Account
  • Your Orders
  • Shipping Rates & Policies
  • Amazon Prime
  • Returns & Replacements
  • Manage Your Content and Devices
  • Recalls and Product Safety Alerts
  • Conditions of Use
  • Privacy Notice
  • Consumer Health Data Privacy Disclosure
  • Your Ads Privacy Choices

an image, when javascript is unavailable

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ Review: Good-Hearted Musical Is Long on Incident but Short on Drama

By David Benedict

David Benedict

  • ‘Spirited Away’ Review: Stage Version of the Oscar-Winning Animated Film Is Less Than the Sum of Its Impressive Parts 3 days ago
  • ‘Minority Report’ Review: Hi-Tech, Lo-Drama in Flat West End Sci-Fi 2 weeks ago
  • ‘Player Kings’ Review: Ian McKellen and Toheeb Jimoh Give Star Turns in a Chilly New Take on Shakespeare’s ‘Henry IV’ 4 weeks ago

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button review musical

Smartly refusing to be doggedly faithful, bookwriter and director Jethro Compton retains the arc of F. Scott Fitzgerald ’s (very) short, fable-like story “ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ” but almost nothing else. Achieving an attractive life of its own on stage, the American story has been relocated to the coastal villages and tin mines of rural Cornwall with perfectly matched, lively and lovely Celtic folk music spiritedly played by a splendid cast. There is, however, a problem: the story itself.

Popular on Variety

But by halfway through the long first act, the difficulties are showing. Benjamin’s situation is repetitive and predictable. The well-meshed creative team build expressive details into each scene but the inevitability of the story robs it of dramatic drive. Much as in Bernstein’s very different yet similarly problematic “Candide,” there’s a worrying lack of tension. Instead of being a drama in which actions have consequences that hold the audience, it becomes an unengaging “and then…” show.

But the music is stronger on mood than momentum. At an overly long two-hour-and-45-minute run time, as everyone launches into yet another foot-stomping celebration of community, a sense of repetition sets in. And while the ballads are suitably lonesome, the lyrics — co-written with director and book writer Compton — are generic. And the moments when the company sings out the show’s themes (the difficulties of time and the importance of making the most of it) leave the audience too little to glean for themselves.

Even the beautifully crafted moments when the instruments drop out to give the 12-strong company full rein in lush, unaccompanied harmony gradually lose power. Like the scenes of the episodic story, there are just too many of them.

Compton’s production, across his own multi-purpose wooden set of planking and boxes, is fleetly staged with minimal fuss and a key death in particular is simply and effectively done. But the longer the story proceeds, the more you wish he had been far more ruthless with his own book, which is crowded with incident rather than excitement.

It’s no coincidence that the film version, garlanded with 13 Oscar nominations, only came home with three awards for the (deserving) visuals. That too reinvented the story’s internal details but still couldn’t find a way to create dramatic tension.

Compton and Clark’s entirely uncynical show, first seen in a smaller version in 2019, couldn’t ask for a better, more committed cast, and there’s a rare good-heartedness to the entire evening which, ultimately, is in a very similar vein to the other recent musical about community, “Come From Away.” But where that show had strong characters and changes of tone in a taut timeline, this lacks variety and range. A slew of producers is now attached, but for this to achieve further commercial life drastic cuts are needed. The creators have wisely been unfaithful to the letter of the original. They need to go much further.

Southwark Playhouse Theatre, London; 252 seats; £28 ($35) top. Opened, June 9 2023; reviewed, June 2. Closes July 1. Running time: 2 HOURS, 45 MIN.

  • Production: An ATG Productions, GBA, Gavin Kalin Productions, Eilene Davidson Productions, Umeda Arts Theatre and Jethro Compton Productions presentation of a musical in two acts based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, book and lyrics by Jethro Compton; music and lyrics, orchestrations and arrangements by Darren Clark. 
  • Crew: Directed and sets designed by Jethro Compton; choreography/movement, Chi-San Howard; musical direction and co-musical supervision, Mark Aspinall. Costumes, Anna Kelsey; lighting, Zoe Spurr; sound, Luke Swaffield; co-musical supervision, Clark; production stage manager, Kay Hudson.
  • Cast: Jamie Parker, Molly Osborne, Matthew Burns, Jonathan Charles, Oonagh Cox, Anna Fordham, Philippa Hogg, Damien James, Ann Marcuson, Jack Quarton, Benedict Salter and Tonny Shim.

More From Our Brands

Joanna newsom pays tribute to ‘hilarious, loving, loyal friend’ steve albini at utah fest, a manhattan mansion by architect robert d. kohn hits the market for $13 million, purdue to turn final four court panels into collectibles, the best loofahs and body scrubbers, according to dermatologists, cast of cancelled ncis: hawai’i gathers at sunset to celebrate ohana, verify it's you, please log in.

Quantcast

  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

Versatile virtuosos … James Marlowe (centre) as Benjamin Button.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button review – folk musical beats the movie

Southwark Playhouse, London A stunning cast sing, play and even puppeteer as the life-lived-backwards tale is relocated to Cornwall in ingenious style

T his musical has almost nothing to do with the 2009 David Fincher movie of the same name. It doesn’t even have much in common with the original 1922 F Scott Fitzgerald short story on which the film was based. All it shares is the central conceit of a life lived backwards – a human born as an elderly man who regresses to infancy over the course of his three score years and 10. And, for all its flaws, the show tells this story – using puppetry, smart staging and some fine musicianship – rather more effectively than Brad Pitt and co managed.

Jethro Compton’s production relocates the tale to a Cornish fishing village, starting in 1918 and moving towards the 1980s. The setting is an excuse to turn the story into a Celtic-themed musical and, much like the cast’s wardrobe, Darren Clark’s original songs have a touch of the Mumford & Sons about them: rather nondescript, blandly anthemic ballads dressed up as folk songs, with a couple of earworms that succeed in setting the tone.

What brings this production to life is the inspired staging and the remarkable performances. The tight five-person cast – James Marlowe, Matt Burns, Rosalind Ford, Joey Hickman and Philippa Hogg – do everything between them. Each takes on multiple roles; they sing perfect harmonies, manipulate puppet characters, and play at least two instruments from an assortment of violin, cello, piano, guitar, trombone, accordion and drums.

It was probably unwise of Compton to direct his own script – a second pair of eyes might have trimmed half an hour of flab – but this version lingers on some aspects of the story unexplored by the film or book. A woman giving birth to an elderly man is not presented as some surrealist thought experiment but as a traumatising experience, while the protagonist’s dilemmas are heartbreaking rather than whimsical. Even when Button is being played by a junkyard puppet – as he is at the start and end of the show – he elicits empathy. It’s a freak show that humanises the freak.

At Southwark Playhouse, London , until 8 June

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Southwark Playhouse

Comments (…)

Most viewed.

Eat My News

  • Top Interviews
  • Influencers & Celebrities
  • Founders & CEO's
  • EMN Membership
  • Corporate & CXO's
  • Entertainment

Book Review : ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald - A Man Who is Born an Elderly and Dies a Child

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Picture Credit - Domain

‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of Fitzgerald’s many masterpieces, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ is an extremely interesting and ingenious story about a man who is born an elderly and dies a child. Yes, you heard it right. Benjamin Button is born with an unusual condition owing to which he ages backwards.

The story talks about how his life goes on and how he faces a plethora of problems especially once he goes out of his house to school and later college. The story has also been made into an excellent movie starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

Introduction

Name of the Story - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Writer’s Name - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre - Fantasy Fiction

Language - English

About the Writer

the curious case of benjamin button book review

Born on September 24th, 1896, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American essayist, screenwriter, novelist and short story writer. He is mainly known for his portrayal of the Jazz Age in his stories who in themselves are flamboyant in nature.

In his time Fitzgerald published four novels, four collections of short stories and one hundred and sixty-four short stories.Some of his notable works include ‘Ernest Hemingway’, ‘The Beautiful and Damned’ and of course the most famous novel ‘The Great Gatsby’.  Alas! Most of his work received critical appreciation only after his death. He died on December 21st, 1940.

About the Story

Benjamin Button was born in the year 1860 at a hospital which is not the only peculiar thing about him. Young Mr. Button is born looking like an old man and the hospital staff is horrified.

Benjamin's father Mr. Robert Button is shocked and worried at the sight of his son and more so that he has to take this sixty-four year old child home. He is concerned about the gossip that might affect his reputation.

Since his birth, it is pretty clear that Benjamin is no common child and so it is rather difficult for the family to clothe him, feed him or compromise the normal child-like thing that fails to do, like playing with a rattle, which Benjamin does, much reluctantly and rather joylessly.

Years pass and Benjamin faces a lot of trouble in school, where he often falls asleep because he is too old for kindergarten and primary level education.

A few years pass and Benjamin enrols in Yale but when he fails to dye his hair one day, he is thrown out of college and deemed a lunatic. He then decides to go to Harvard.

The year is 1880, Benjamin is now twenty and going out to balls and parties. One such evening he meets Hildegard and they become engaged six months later, despite her father’s disapproval.

More years pass and Benjamin goes on to grow younger and  younger which upsets Hildegard as she is growing older. Roscoe, Benjamin’s son now has a son and chides Benjamin for his physical changes and asks him to be a red blooded man. Not being able to explain his condition to anyone, Benjamin slides into a milk-scented haze of nothingness.

Themes Involved 

The most prominent theme in the story is that of identity. Benjamin Button fails to recognize himself ever because he is always and constantly changing and thus he fails to have a constant and stable identity.

The second theme which is also common to all Fitzgerald stories is that of wealth and prosperity. The Buttons are a rich bunch but despite the money they are not able to help one of their own.

Famous Quotes

“You are meant to lose the people you love. How else would you know how important they are to you?”

“So he nodded, smiled, listened, and was happy.”

 “Old fellows like me can’t learn new things.”

The Bottom Line

The story is one of a kind and so interesting that you hardly notice that it is a little on the longish side. The details, the information and the plot are way too well written for you to pass on the chance to read this story.

My ratings for the story - 4 on 5

Read it now here - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 

Written By - Sakshi Singh

You may like these posts

Popular posts.

Book Review: Wings of  Fire by Dr. Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari

Book Review: Wings of Fire by Dr. Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari

Peer Pressure - Advantages and Disadvantages

Peer Pressure - Advantages and Disadvantages

Ritu Saraf - Allow Your Passion to Become Your Purpose, and It Will One Day Become Your Profession (Blogger)

Ritu Saraf - Allow Your Passion to Become Your Purpose, and It Will One Day Become Your Profession (Blogger)

10 Side Effects of Broiler Chicken

10 Side Effects of Broiler Chicken

7 Bad Food Combinations You Must Avoid Completely

7 Bad Food Combinations You Must Avoid Completely

Tsvetina Dimitrova - Our Look is a Mirror Reflecting Our Inner World (Bulgarian Model)

Tsvetina Dimitrova - Our Look is a Mirror Reflecting Our Inner World (Bulgarian Model)

Mathikettan Solai: The Forbidden Forest of Tamil Nadu

Mathikettan Solai: The Forbidden Forest of Tamil Nadu

Rover as a Restoration Comedy

Rover as a Restoration Comedy

The Bachelor of Arts Novel by R. K. Narayan

The Bachelor of Arts Novel by R. K. Narayan

 Story Review: ‘The Final Solution’ by Manik Bandopadhyay - The Story of the Gruesome Aftermath of the Partition

Story Review: ‘The Final Solution’ by Manik Bandopadhyay - The Story of the Gruesome Aftermath of the Partition

Footer menu widget.

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions

IMAGES

  1. DVD Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

  2. Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

  3. Disputed Knowledge : SLICE OF HEAVEN: BENJAMIN BUTTON REVIEW

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

  4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

  5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Illustrated (Paperback)

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

  6. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

    the curious case of benjamin button book review

VIDEO

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  2. the curious case of benjamin button

  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  4. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2009) Movie Review

  5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  6. Closing To The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button 2009 UK DVD

COMMENTS

  1. Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Jane Housham. Fri 19 Dec 2008 19.01 EST. B ecause a film has been made of it, starring Brad Pitt, this droll short story has been elevated to the status of a ...

  2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in Collier's Magazine on May 27, 1922. It was subsequently anthologized in his book Tales of the Jazz Age, which is occasionally published as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other ...

  3. Book Review

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most well-known stories and there's a very good reason for that. Telling the story of a man who ages backwards is an interesting concept. ... 2 thoughts on " Book Review - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald " Pingback: Bookish Post - February ...

  4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Study Guide

    Key Facts about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Full Title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When Published: May 27, 1922. Literary Period: The Jazz Age; Modernism. Genre: Short Story. Setting: Baltimore between 1860 and roughly 1930. Climax: Benjamin becomes an infant and dies. Antagonist: Societal expectations.

  5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Study Guide

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in Collier's magazine in May 1922, and later included in Fitzgerald's collection of short stories, Tales of the Jazz Age.Written at the height of Fitzgerald's popularity, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" tells the story of a man who is born with the appearance of being seventy years old and ages ...

  6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Full Plot Summary

    After some discussion, the two compromise and Benjamin is allowed to wear long trousers so long as he continues to dye his hair and play with boys his own age. As years pass, Benjamin Button grows younger. Eighteen-year-old Benjamin, who looks about fifty now, takes the Yale exams and enrolls as a freshman.

  7. It's the Age of a Child Who Grows From a Man

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which occupies around 25 pages in the collected works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a slender piece of whimsy, a charming fantasy about a man who ages in ...

  8. Classics corner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    Sat 14 Feb 2009 19.01 EST. T he Curious Case of Benjamin Button belongs to that category of short story - Kafka's The Metamorphosis is the most celebrated example - in which an absurd conceit is ...

  9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    And so begins the film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man whois born in his eighties and ages backwards. A man, like any of us, unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the twenty-first century, following his journey ...

  10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Kindle Edition

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Kindle edition by Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. ... There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. NA. 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book. Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2024.

  11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    About The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Upon completing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" in 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald declared it "the funniest story ever written" and "one of my two favorite stories." It's the strange tale of a man who is "born" 70 years old and mysteriously ages in reverse.

  12. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button... by Fitzgerald, F. Scott

    Audio CD. $25.98 1 Used from $37.86 3 New from $21.98. In his short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald provides a humorous and touching journey that reveals what it's like to be born old and age in reverse. With art by Calef Brown, this collector's edition presents this classic story in illustrated form for the first ...

  13. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Six Other Stories

    This collection includes 7 stories: * The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Full grown with a long, smoke-coloured beard, requiring the services of a cane and fonder of cigars than warm milk, Benjamin Button is a very curious baby indeed. And, as Benjamin becomes increasingly youthful with the passing years, his family wonders why he persists in ...

  14. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: And Six Other Stories (Penguin

    Revealing the breadth of F. Scott Fitzgerald's gift for the short story form, this Penguin Classics edition of The Case of Benjamin Button and Six Other Stories spans multiple genres and styles to dazzling effect.Full grown with a long, smoke-coloured beard, requiring the services of a cane and fonder of cigars than warm milk, Benjamin Button is a very curious baby indeed.

  15. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie review (2008)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a splendidly made film based on a profoundly mistaken premise. It tells the story of a man who is old when he is born and an infant when he dies. All those around him, everyone he knows and loves, grow older in the usual way, and he passes them on the way down. As I watched the film, I became consumed by a conviction that this was simply wrong.

  16. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    Rated: 5/5 • Mar 3, 2024. Nov 4, 2021. Born under unusual circumstances, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) springs into being as an elderly man in a New Orleans nursing home and ages in reverse ...

  17. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as ...

  18. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    Paperback - January 13, 2009. 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' is F. Scott Fitzgerald's fantastical satire about aging. It is the strange and haunting story of Benjamin Button who is born as an old man and ages backwards so that at the end of his life he is a baby. Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more.

  19. 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Review: New Musical in London

    Read More About: 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Review: Good-Hearted Musical Is Long on Incident but Short on Drama. Southwark Playhouse Theatre, London; 252 seats; £28 ($35) top ...

  20. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A Graphic Novel

    3.69. 2,140 ratings206 reviews. Upon completing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" in 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald declared it "the funniest story ever written" and "one of my two favorite stories." It's the strange tale of a man who is "born" 70 years old and mysteriously ages in reverse. This stunning graphic novel adaptation illustrates ...

  21. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button review

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button review - folk musical beats the movie. T his musical has almost nothing to do with the 2009 David Fincher movie of the same name. It doesn't even have much ...

  22. Book Review : 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' by F. Scott

    Picture Credit - Domain 'So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'-F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of Fitzgerald's many masterpieces, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' is an extremely interesting and ingenious story about a man who is born an elderly and dies a child.

  23. PDF Book Review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. is a good novel, very imaginative and contains a personal life. The author was thinking about how to make a very attractive story. The story of the book is about Benjamin's life who was born old and gets some discrimination . from his life. Benjamin Button is not an ordinary man, he is a different man.