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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

by Therese Anne Fowler

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler X
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2014, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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Mina Christina

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
This was a great read. The differences between Scott and Zelda is immense as he is a scruffy guy from the up North and she is a Southern Belle. Their lifestyle and the need to impress Scott's peers are what set them up for a difficult marriage. Upon completion of this novel, it is evident that Zelda's mental issues were brought upon by Scott's insecurities and inability to value his wife. It's a shame that in the 20s women were nothing more than accessories even though most of these women were the backbone of their husbands. Would recommend this read to anyone interested in the 20s and the flapper extravagant lifestyle.
Karen R

Excellent story
Beautiful Zelda Sayre, a wealthy, fiery and spoiled Southern Belle met her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, an Army man and budding novelist, shortly after she finished high school. This thoughtfully written book takes us on their life’s journey, through the glitz and glamour that came along with F. Scott’s literary celebrity. They were madly in love, traveled the world and lived in opulence. Interesting literary and artistic acquaintances are introduced along the way, rich and famous trailblazers of the times. The Fitzgerald’s’ story is a tragic one, as alcoholism, restlessness, jealousy and depression take a grim toll on their health and marriage. I sympathized with Zelda who spent many years in the shadow of and being tormented by an overbearing, obsessed and unpleasant man. She was gifted in ballet, art and writing, having written many of the stories that Scott took credit for. I felt her sadness time and time again, as she has to give up her dreams due to Scott’s selfishness. Scattered throughout the book are letters between Zelda and her friends and family. Letter writing is a lost art and I loved that the author included these.
Power Reviewer
Shof

The Other Side of Paradise
Like most readers, "The Great Gatsby" was my Fitzgerald source. I also knew Scott became an alcoholic and Zelda ended up in a home for people with mental problems and that is pretty much it.

Therese Fowler filled in the gaps in this well-written biographical novel. At first I felt as if I was reading about Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby's long lost love and thought I would have to force myself to continue. But Fowler rounded out these characters so I could see how little they knew about life, how truly lost they were.

This is the tragic story of lost souls who have no coping skills. Having read about the lost generation, I was able to see how ill-prepared Zelda and Scott were to live a fulfilling life.

Scott's alcoholism was fueled by a massive inferiority complex and Zelda's fragile mental state--Fowler suggests she was bipolar--along with other health problems and a dysfunctional marriage eventually contributed to a complete breakdown.

Zelda's story became a compelling read for me. When I finished, I couldn't let go of the tragic waste of a once vibrant person, actually persons.

This book should be read along with Paula Mclain's "The Paris Wife" which covers the same period of time of Hemingway's life. It is also worth rereading Scott's novels as well as Zelda's "Save Me the Waltz."
Elizabeth G.

I'll Take Zelda
Z, the novel about the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald is at points charming and; like another reviewer, I kept thinking of the movie, "Midnight in Paris." It was very interesting, having a degree in literature, and learning more about this couple. I'm not one that puts Fitzgerald in the best writers of all time column. He might have been if he applied himself a bit differently. And Zelda might have been had she been allowed. But it does give a view into that time: The Lost Generation. My great aunts lived at this time and did not marry but had really big careers and traveled and visited the Algonquin, so I'm always curious to learn more. I also kind of feel the same as Zelda about Hemmingway, but do love a couple of his novels. But I could never understand the huge ordeal over The Old Man and the Sea. Really? I am missing something. But I like Zelda and I like reading her perspective of things, fictional as they might be.
Lori

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
I found Z very interesting, especially having read both The Paris Wife and The Aviator's Wife and other readings from that time period, so this added to my impression of the 20's. I previously had known very little about the Fitzgeralds, so I appreciated learning about them and more about the time period.

I found the book well-written, and I think book groups will appreciate reading this book. I think there are lots of issues which could be great for discussions.
Kay

A Woman trying to find her way, Zelda
Therese Anne Fowler gives the reader a well researched fictionalized account of the life of Zelda Fitzgerald in Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I came to know Zelda in these pages as a woman struggling with her own identity. Married to a driven to-be- perfect husband and living in a time when women are coming out of their homes to become people in their own right, Zelda struggles to find her own success. I learned that Zelda was not just the Flapper described in her husband's writings, but a modern woman like us all struggling to be her own person. This book flowed well, presented a real person with problems, and left me with a curiosity to find out more about the Fitzgerald's.
Power Reviewer
Diane S.

Zelda
There is much to admire in this offering about Zelda, her life and of course her and Scott's lives. It is always great to read about this time period, all these writing greats, and always I am left wondering how if they were all forever broke, they managed to drink constantly and travel always. Of course it was hard to read of Zelda, her psyche crumbling and diagnosis of schizophrenia, her years in a mental facility.This is a well written book about interesting people who wrote many of the classics that are still revered today. My only little nagging complaint is that this Zelda is not as edgy as she has previously been portrayed. She is a little more sympathetic and a little more pitiful. Will appeal to readers of this time period and the authors that became famous from this group.
Emily Welsh

Z
The book is good.
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