I have never loved a book in my life that so many people have hated as Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (save for those that hate her Atlas Shrugged just as much). John Green himself has denounced the book repeatedly, offering such quotes as "The Fountainhead is a failure as a book" and "[...] to me the stories and the people are paper-thin, mere vessels for ideas. Stories should be more than that, in my opinion."
It's been some number of years since I read it, but I still adore the story and claim it as one of my favorites. I also like it for the very reasons John hates it; the characters fit into this comic book style of existing and their stories shape so interestingly around the ideals they represent. This novel has a sordid tradition of being loved by some rather unsavory public figures and disliked by some rather awesome individuals, so I've sometimes found it unsettling that I like it so much. But that just leads me back to examining why I do. Which lead to this thread and the following question:
Do you or don't you like The Fountainhead? Why or why not?
I don't know. Honestly, as a novel, I don't really hate The Fountainhead. I think it's okay. But, I kind of like didactic novels, even if I don't agree with what they are being didactic about.
I think the real problem isn't the novel itself, but the ideas it promotes. Or, it's less the novel and more the novelist. Or, less the novel and more the people who use the novel as the basis for their worldview. Ayn Rand's philosophy is, in my opinion, the most flagrantly immoral and inhumane (if not downright anti-human) philosophy espoused in contemporary times. That would be bad enough, but the fact that so many people love her ideas makes it worse.
If The Fountainhead were the same novel but, instead of promoting an ideology of selfishness, greed, elitism, and denial of the inherent worth of most of humanity, the novel featured characters pontificating about the importance of flossing regularly or of getting your cats fixed, the artistic elements of the book wouldn't be as resoundingly condemned by most decent people as they currently are.
I really don't think The Fountainhead fails, as a novel, quite as much as most people think it does. I just think Ayn Rand fails as a human being. But, bad people can sometimes create okay--or even good--stories.
I tend to think that either she's misunderstood in what exactly she's preaching, or that I grossly misinterpret what she's offering philosophically. When she talks about "greed" and "selfishness", she doesn't speak of them in the classic Christian Biblical sense. That might be a problem of language in general or just her use of it, but it seems clear in the story that the subservience of self to the masses is what she writes against. I haven't read thoroughly through her philosophies outside her novels, but much of her story is just anti-communism.
What I find hilarious is that this interpretation is grossly missed on both sides. I've seen and heard people use her ideas as justification for malicious greed, when the "greed" she talks about is really closer to "integrity". And on the other side, people denounce her in much the same way.
I find much of her ideas intriguing (though I've repeatedly heard they aren't entirely original; nor am I an Objectivist). She looks at capitalism as a way of living life in general, and the "selfishness" she speaks of is the desire to be uncorrupted by those things that would destroy who you are. And I think that's a positive message. But at the same time, if this is what I read while others get such a vastly different translation, that throws into question her ability to be succinct and clear herself.
I think the book is dangerous, but mostly because it's so easy to soak in misinformation while still being entertained. I've experienced that myself and it is a short-coming of this book's output, but I find the problem was with my execution of half-understood ideas, not with the novel itself.
I like fountainhead. There are no particular reasons why I like it. I don't even know why I like Atlas shrugged, it's just that the way that ayn writes captivates me in a way that no one else can. I think it's also a plus point for me that it is sort of an infamous book.
I think also sometimes people misinterpreted Ayn's Ideal as sort of a greed, I think what she was meant to say in my opinion is trying to make a stand for yourself. Like, it's not always best to think of others when you cannot do those things to yourself first.
I do get why people loathe the book. Ayn's ideal is sometimes so biased. It's a strange book for me. I personally don't like the ideals that ayn's making, but I can't bring myself to hate it.