Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler is a peek into the world of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, a glimpse into a relationship that was flawed, yet fascinating. 

The book is from Zelda's perspective and begins right before she meets Scott in Montgomery, Alabama at a country club dance. The book follows them from their wedding at St Patrick's to their traipsing across the US and Europe. It also explores the relationships they had with other celebrities of the time, including Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, and takes a stark look at their tumultuous marriage, ending with Scott's death from a heart attack. 

I am absolutely positively sure there are probably some inaccuracies in the book. I would worry about them more if this was presented as a nonfiction. However, as a historical fiction, I took any suppositions in stride and enjoyed it for its engaging characters and for the chance to see what life could have been like for the Fitzgeralds.

I've always claimed to love the Roaring Twenties, and yet, the only book I've read about the decade has been The Great Gatsby. This book inspired me to pick up Tender is the Night as well as The Beautiful and the Damned* and read a nonfiction called Flapper.  The time period was our nation's teen years: staying out late, drinking illegally and driving fast. Fowler captured this wonderfully. Zelda and Scott lived on money they didn't have and set a standard which makes most people connect them immediately to the time period.

Fowler says in the afterword there is often a Team Scott and a Team Zelda due to individuals believing one spouse ruined the other's life and visa versa. I tried really hard not to pick a team, but Zelda's plight in Z was hard not to sympathize with. I think, though, they were both troubled individuals so in love with the idea of being in love they became as tragic as the characters Scott portrayed in his stories. 

The Verdict
Bookshelf: The story was engaging, and I kept turning the page to see what shenanigans they would get into next. It piqued my interest to read more of Scott's work and hunt down a copy of Zelda's book, Save Me the Waltz

*Angie and I are planning an April buddy read of Tender is the Night and The Beautiful and the Damned and we'll share our experience toward the end of the month. Pick your copies and join us! Optional are Flapper and The Great Gatsby as well. Let me know what other Roaring Twenties books I can try.

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