Heywood Broun, who is quoted at the conclusion of the previous article, was one of the most influential dissenters to the favorable reception of This Side of Paradise. The public generally found the novel shocking and daring, and speculated that Fitzgerald's personal life must match his fiction. The disillusionment of its characters shocked readers at least as much as their behavior.
But Broun found the whole performance rather boring. Young men of college age had always gone through disillusionment, he said. Their late adolescent maunderings were hardly a subject for good fiction. Fitzgerald was hurt badly by the attack; he invited Broun to lunch and told him that it was too bad that Broun had reached the age of thirty without accomplishing anything. Fitzgerald's comment was probably right to the point. Envy of a very successful, very young novelist was probably a major factor in Broun's criticism. Broun then published the following interview with Fitzgerald by Carleton R. Davis, tacking on his own comment at the end.
Having from time to time set down our impression of F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote "This Side of Paradise," it seems only fair to step aside and let Mr. Fitzgerald talk for himself, as he does in an interview by Carleton R. Davis, which is sent to us by Scribner's.
With the distinct intention of taking Mr. Fitzgerald by surprise I ascended to the twenty-fifth floor of the Biltmore and knocked in the best waiter-manner at the door. On entering, my first impression was one of confusion--sort of rummage sale confusion. A young man was standing in the center of the room, twining an absent glance first at one side of the room and then at the other.
"I'm looking for my hat," he said, dazedly. "How do you do? Come on in and sit down on the bed."
The author of "This Side of Paradise" is sturdy, broad shouldered and just about medium height. He has blond hair, with the suggestion of a wave, and alert green eyes--mélange somewhat Nordic--