"When I saw that Amazon Prime was unveiling its original pilot for Z, a biographical series based on Therese Anne Fowler's novel about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, I raised a wary eyebrow. . . But I was wrong, oh me of little faith. . . [I]t's an enveloping period piece, perfectly cast, and I would like to see the pilot green-lighted into a series so that we can see this romance go up like a rocket with one loud champagne pop and strew debris across mansion lawns and luxury hotel lobbies in its transcontinental path." —Vanity Fair
I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer…and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott's, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
©2013 Therese Anne Fowler (P)2013 Macmillan
Great Narration! I was not familiar with the story of the Fitzgeralds, unlike many who reviewed this book, but I learned a lot about them. I really appreciate that the author brought to life both the highs and lows of their life together.
Zelda Sayre was a seventeen-year-old Southern belle when she met Scott in 1918. After Scott sold This Side of Paradise the two married and began the decadent life for which they are now well-known. Known as the quintessential Jazz Age couple, these two did nothing halfway. They partied hard, fought hard, hit rock bottom more than once, and were forever on the move.
The Fitzgeralds are known for their excessive alcohol intake, Scott's writer's block, money problems, and bouts with mental illness. Therese Anne Fowler fleshes out these details and connects them with living, breathing individuals. I found Zelda to be a very sympathetic character in Fowler's hands. I think many women can relate to the conflict between Zelda's desire to make something of herself and the expectations placed upon her by family and society. Scott, for all his contributions to modernist literature, is not particularly modern in his ideas of family life. Fowler also does a nice job conveying the Fitzgerald's codependency. The Fitzgerald's really were a mess. I can definitely understand why Zelda ended up having a breakdown. I feel for everyone who suffered from a mental illness in the past. The reeducation portions of the book, in particular, just sicken me.
I love reading about the other famous folk that Fitzgerald's partied with: The Steins, the Murphys, Picasso and Olga, Ford Maddox Ford, and many more. Ernest Hemingway comes across as a colossal jerk in Z.
Zelda was a talented person in her own right. She published many short stories (though several also include Scott's name on the byline) and a novel, and she was an artist and a ballet dancer.
I loved the audiobook performance. I highly recommend it.
This story is beautifully written and Jenna Lamia's soft Southern accent pours out of her mouth like honey. Therese Anne Fowler has written something so exquisite, that I feel as if I know Zelda Fitzgerald, now. I KNOW her. My heart is completely full.
I've read reviews that complain that it is not accurate, but the author clarifies that this is fiction based on real people. Without giving thought into that, I enjoyed it as a good romance and insight into the life of a very interesting woman in a very interesting age. I enjoyed veru much the reading by Jenna Lamia and I think that definitely contributed to situating my mind on the context and feeling closer to Zelda.
I was really excited to read this, but every time I try I fall asleep. The reader's voice is like a lullaby. I will keep trying, but sleeping kind of gets in the way of being able to really enjoy/review this book.
A satisfying but not brilliant re-working of the sad story of Zelda Fitzgerald. Enjoyable certainly, but no 'Paris Wife.' Worth the effort for the small sections of interesting writing.
The narration is good, though the Southern accent got slightly cloying at times.
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