Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (short story)
After seeing the movie version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I decided to read the short story, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, that inspired it. (I was able to download a copy of it for free here.) I say inspired it because the short story and the movie are totally different. I won’t compare them, though. If you’d like a comparison, The Book Lady and Trish have both done a great job of that.
The short story of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is set in Baltimore in the mid to late 1800’s. It opens with Roger Button rushing to the hospital because his first child has been born. He gets there only to discover that his newborn is a seventy year old man, complete with a gray beard. He can even talk. Roger is horrified, but eventually accepts it and takes Benjamin home. Embarrassed by Benjamin’s appearance, Roger has him shaved, dyes his hair and dresses him in specially made clothes that are appropriate for a youngster. He also buys him baby toys and expects him to play with them.
Around the age of 12, Benjamin discovers that he is aging backwards. At age 20 he goes to work in his father’s wholesale hardware company. He meets and marries Hildegarde. At first, he’s happy in the marriage, and they have a son, who is “normal.” As Hildegarde ages and Benjamin grows younger, he becomes disenchanted. After some time in the military and at college, Benjamin and Hildegarde are living separately. Benjamin spends his final years living with his son.
This short story is an interesting, enjoyable read. Since it is short, there is little character development, but you do learn about Benjamin’s feelings. I found it strange that his mother was rarely mentioned in the story. It was first published in 1922.