My take on the Beautiful and Damned, is that while it does resemble the Great Gatsby (the first Fitzgerald I read), it is also different. Both have a ‘Daisy’ character, both have underlying darkness, both are set around the same era in America’s history and both involve big parties and high levels of (illicit) alcohol consumption. While I didn’t mind the character Daisy in GG, I have heard of many others finding her to be quite annoying. If you are one of those, Gloria in BD will drive you around the bend. She is different to Daisy, it is a different story, and in my opinion Daisy is far more preferable as Gloria just got on my nerves by the end. Gatsby is a dark book, but I found the Beautiful and Damned quite depressing. From the character’s frivolous waste of wealth, opportunity and life, to the desperateness with which they carry on, unable to break their cycle of expense, partying and drink, to the final inevitable conclusion, I feel that this book could be a mirror of many modern lives and could be a reminder that money can’t buy you anything.
It was a proper Fitzgerald novel and if you enjoy that style or enjoy reading books based in that era of history, then it is a book you will enjoy. If you didn’t really enjoy reading the Great Gatsby (note: the book, not the movie), then I wouldn’t recommend this to you.