May 7, 2013

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

"We have never been what we seemed." ~ pg.13

Who is Zelda Fitzgerald? Born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama in July 1900, she was an American novelist and 1920s icon. The wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald was nicknamed "the first American Flapper." She was the other half of the famous Jazz Age/Roaring Twenties celebrity couple. On the outside, the Fitzgeralds' marriage seemed golden. But behind doors, it was full of the harsh realities of alcoholism, lost identities, mental illness, infidelity and literary rivalry.

"Happily, happily foreverafterward—the best we could." ~ Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

The beautiful southern belle first met Scott in 1918. They fell in love hard and fast. After F. Scott sold his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's Zelda boarded a train north and married him. Their life became a wild train ride. From New York to Hollywood to Paris, the legendary couple lived a glamorous, yet doomed life. But married life for the famous miscreants wasn't always glamorous "Gatsby-like" parties, bottomless champagne, tuxedos and sparkling gowns. Real life kicked in and along with it, conflict between the Fitzgeralds. Women's roles in marriage was quite different than modern-day. But even then, Zelda had a tough time adjusting to being a dedicated housewife and not a career woman. Zelda was among the first to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing. But did you know she was often the author behind articles with only F. Scott's Fitzgerald's name in the byline? This is just one of the many things told in this novel.

F. Scott, Zelda & daughter Scottie
Author Therese Anne Fowler tells Zelda Fitzgerald's story the way Zelda herself might have told it. It is evident through the novel that the author has respect and affection for both Scott and Zelda. If you are a writer, you know that fiction is based on real people. Z takes readers on an imaginary journey through Zelda's life and thoughts. In the Acknowledgments, the author says this novel is an attempt to imagine what it was like to be Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. The research is evident in passages that reflect known facts of the Fitzgeralds. Yet it has a personal spin to it that newspapers, media and gathered correspondence could not portray. Well done, Therese Anne Fowler. Well done.

Because facts are woven into imagination through words, there were moments where the story seemed to drag. However, it was often the case where back story was necessary to continue into the future of the plot. Z is an exceptional novel to read, especially while re-reading The Great Gatsby or watching the new movie which releases this Friday, May 10. Z is 380 pages of fiction based on reality that any Fitzgerald or classic literature fan will enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Title: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Published: March 2013
Pages: 380
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


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