(Review) Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press.
Genre: Fiction, Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald.
Rating: 3 stars for good.
Zelda Sayre is the youngest child in a respected Montgomery, Alabama family. When the book begins, she is 17. Her mother wears the Edwardian style clothing, but Zelda is apart of the emerging change that came at the end of World War I and progressed into 1920's. The hemlines raised, hairstyles became short and bobbed; and women became more assertive after the right to vote had passed.
Culture and society during the Jazz Age of the 1920's, changed remarkably since the previous Victorian and Edwardian times. From clothing to music, from literature to decorating style, everything reflected the staunch difference.
Zelda met handsome F. Scott Fitzgerald at a party. She is immediately taken with his military uniform and "angelic face." A relationship begins, but the war places a damper on its development. Fitzgerald never sees combat, and returns to the states to begin a career as a paid writer. Eventually, he sends for Zelda to become his wife.
The main reason I gave Z 3 stars for good is I did not feel a strong investment in Zelda's portrayal. I believe it's because she is depicted as superficial and with little depth of character. It is possible the author captured the exact Zelda, because she was not a deep person, and in this case I can understand the struggle to write about a person who is thin-skinned.
A secondary reason is Zelda struggled with a mental illness (possibly schizophrenic.) I wanted to see more of the mental illness displayed, as well as the affects on F. Scott. Her illness is not to the depth I wanted it to be told. Zelda also suffered from colitis. In reflecting back on the story, I remember more about her intestinal disease than the mental illness.
Z does give a chronological view of the life of Zelda and F. Scott. It shows the important people they knew (for example, Ernest Hemingway), and the places where they traveled and lived. The book gave me a solid view of F. Scott's writing career, their marriage problems, and love despite hardships.
The book stops short of the ending of Zelda's life. The book does not show the relationship troubles she had with Scottie, the only child of Zelda and F. Scott.