Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Description (from cover):

'I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer..and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the 'ungettable' Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel--and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera--where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous--sometimes infamous--husband How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott's, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.'

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the author's portrayal of Zelda Fitzgerald nee Sayre was immensely entertaining. Zelda's voice in this book is quite endearing and captivating. I simply could not put this one down. I knew absolutely nothing about Zelda or F. Scott Fitzgerald's personal life before reading this novel and while I know it is fiction and some events may or may not have really happened, this book was a great insight into the lives of some famous people. I love Zelda's youthfulness at the beginning of this book and it was easy to imagine Zelda as a teenager, dreaming of a bright future and a world outside of Montgomery, Alabama. Zelda was popular and fun to be around and she seems to have been quite the character.

I loved the ups and downs the author portrays in the marriage of Zelda and Scott. Scott's addiction to alcohol and his never ending desire to make his mark on the literary world are the driving ambitions of their marriage issues. You can't help but wish that Scott and Zelda's relationship could have been different, but the author does a beautiful job of creating a sense of what their relationship was really like without sugarcoating the dim reality of it. Zelda is highly unsatisfied in her marriage and jealousy reigns on both sides as Zelda has to fight for attention amongst Scott's literary circles, his constant need for adulation, his struggles with alcohol and his toxic relationship with Ernest Hemingway.

It's hard for some authors to get across the real feeling of the characters in a novel, but Fowler does an amazing job in this book. I can't help but want to learn more about these two amazing people and dig further into their relationship. I found this book to be grossly entertaining and rich in detail and research. A great read for lovers of historical fiction who like to learn about real people and their struggles. F. Scott Fitzgerald wasn't all too popular during his lifetime, but he and his wife left a mark on history and this book is a fabulous glimpse into their chaotic, yet glamorous lives.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Author:  Therese Anne Fowler
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  March 26, 2013
Pages:  384
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

3 comments:

  1. I have heard of Zelda Fitzgerald before but knew nothing about her outside of being a famous wife. I'm certainly interested in learning more about her. It seems she really lived for the 20s.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm reading this at the moment. I agree that Zelda's voice is very captivating.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really enjoyed this book as well! Zelda is so fascinating to me!

    ReplyDelete

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