Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler Two Roads, 2013 Find this book at your local library
This book was a totally engrossing & captivating story of Scott. & Zelda Fitzgerald’s roller coaster marriage. Fowler’s work reads with the same pacing and flow as Melanie Benjamin’s books (of which I am a huge fan). This novel follows the relationship of the Fitzgeralds through the various stages of Scott’s literary career, covering all of his published works. A majority of their nomadic marriage was spent overseas in France, drunk.
As much as I love The Great Gatsby, I have to admit that my knowledge of the Fitzgeralds is negligible. All I knew was that Scott was best friends with Hemingway and that he was drunk most of the time. I knew absolutely nothing about Zelda before this book. It was an eye-opening look at life nearly 100 years ago, and how far the woman’s independence movement has come since. I doubt Zelda would have felt the same constraints on her ambitions now as she must have felt back then.
My only complaints with the book are that ending felt rushed & choppy. The entire story was well paced, with just enough time devoted to the various stages of their lives. But then, we get to the end and Zelda’s institutional period and everything is quickly rushed through. Maybe its because these experiences were a blur for her? I don’t know, but I wished that those areas had been fleshed out a little more. Although Fowler had been making subtle statements about the latent sexism of the time throughout the novel, I felt that she really battered the reader with it during the last few chapters about Zelda’s institutional experiences and the ridiculously sexist opinions of the psychiatrists (however accurate they may have been). As an end result, I now feel extra inspired to read the rest of Scott’s work, but also to find and read Zelda’s work too. I want to know more about their lives. Fowler tried to stay neutral between the team-Zelda and team-Scott fans. Although I think there is a slight bias towards team-Zelda. I for, one, am anti-Hemingway, and at the very least, this book solidified my opinion of him as a pompous, inflated ego.