One of the reasons that I absolutely adore summer is the fact that I have so much time to read. During school it is so difficult to find time to commit to one novel. So if you are wondering why this past few months have been fill of “Book Club” posts, that is why. Much of what I have read this summer has come from looking at everyone’s summer reading list posts. One book that I have found on several lists was “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler. How happy was I when it popped up at Target during one of my frequent (read: completely unnecessary) trips?!
I do not know if it has come up on here yet or not but I am a huge fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing; he is my absolute favorite author. However, I have only been familiar with his work and not so much his life let alone that of his wife, Zelda. I knew only that she was from Alabama and that many (including Ernest Hemingway) considered Zelda to be one of Scott’s biggest distractions and professional hinderances.
The novel is not a biography. It actually reads very similar to “The Paris Wife” which I talked about here. It is a piece of wonderfully written historical fiction told from Mrs. Fitzgerald’s perspective. The reader has the opportunity to glimpse into what was potentially going through the mind of this reportedly wild woman. What she must have felt following her husband all around the country and even to France so that he could find the inspiration to write, only to spend more time drinking and socializing.
While the novel did make prominent Scott’s drinking problem, and Zelda’s problems that had her institutionalized from much of the ’30s and ’40s, something else stands out above that: the love story.
The Fitzgeralds were a couple who stayed together through the good and through the very bad despite the opinions of friends and family. They managed to stay together through all of the alcohol, affairs, nasty fights, illness and other factors. At one point in the book, the couple is sitting together on Christmas Eve when Zelda asks Scott why they have not divorced each other. He replies simply that she is the true love of his life regardless of everything else.
I absolutely adored this book–it was totally worth the purchase! If you are a Fitzgerald fan and a fan of the Roaring Twenties I definitely recommend this book!
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?