Amory Blaine, a handsome, wealthy, spoiled and snobbish young man from the Midwest, attends Princeton University and acquires a refined sense of the proper "social" values. Lacking all sense of purpose, he interests himself in literary cults, vaguely "liberal" student activities, and a series of flirtations with some rather predatory young ladies.
Perhaps This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel - succeeds because of its vibrant quality of youthfulness. The New York Times expressed this opinion: "The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. As a picture of the daily existence of what we call loosely 'college men,' this book is as nearly perfect as such a work could be. It could have been written only by an artist who knows how to balance his values with a delightful literary style." Partially autobiographical, This Side of Paradise was credited with having invented the American flapper.