Z - A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
For those of you who know me, I suspect you're already chuckling at the title of this book. Yes, I LOVE The Great Gatsby, yes, I have a phone cover of Gatsby, and yes, I even wear my Gatsby t-shirt on the first day I begin teaching it to my freshman. With that said, though, I abhor most all the characters within the book - petty, greedy, selfish, racist, anti-semitic, Nick, Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby are all pretty much lousy human beings. Yet, I love the writing, the themes, the beauty of the story. So...of course when Z came out, I purchased it on the first day.
So many myths and urban legends surround this 'Jazz Age' couple; I was curious as to what was true and what wasn't. The story focuses on Zelda, whereas most everything I've read always centered around Scott. The story of their courtship, the early wild days of marriage before a child, the 'lost generation' of the expats in Europe, the alcoholism, the friendship with Hemingway, the mental illness...it's all covered here. However, Fowler also explores what it meant to be a woman back then, and what happens to an independent-minded woman when she runs up against the unwritten rules for 'wife-dom' in the 1920's and '30's. I found Zelda fascinating, sad, and tortured, and Scott as rather pathetic, obsessive, and also tortured. I wonder where life would have taken these two if they had not joined their negative, destructive forces with one another? Great read if you have an interest in the literary days of the past, as well as enjoy historical fiction. Not only did I learn a great deal, but I enjoyed the journey tremendously.