BooksReview

Book Review – Z : A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Hannah Lee ’20/Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Everyone knows the great, the famous Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Many people heard about F. Scott Fitzgerald during high school when they were studying The Great Gatsby. Many people deem it to be their favorite book. One thing that people may not know is that a lot of the dialogue in that book came from his muse, his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald.

Photo Credit: St. Martin's Press
Photo Credit: St. Martin’s Press

In 2013, Therese Anne Fowler published a book called  Z : A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. This book is about Zelda Sayre before she met F. Scott Fitzgerald and went on to become Zelda Fitzgerald. This novel contains portions of her life such as her relationships with her family, friends, husband, and child. She also displays certain works that Zelda aspired to do as well as her feminism. Despite it being published in 2013, it wasn’t very well known until the beginning of 2016. This book is so lovely that it was appalling to think that it was not known until three years after it published. Z is considered to be a historical fiction novel. However, when reading, it is almost as if it is an autobiography. You can tell that Fowler did much research to create this beauty. After reading this novel, you will be or want to be fully invested in the Fitzgeralds’ lives.

This book takes us back in time to the early 1900s when Zelda was seventeen and completely naive. The cultural imagery is incredible. As a reader, you’re able to imagine exactly what it would be like to be in the country house of the Sayres or in New York City during the 1920s. Fowler describes the setting and apparel very well. Allowing the reader to jump into the book and look at their surroundings as Zelda herself.

As you read from Zelda’s perspective, you come to realize that she had so much to offer the world, but was pushed down by many different worldly factors. For example, Zelda wanted to write like Scott had. She had written amazing short stories, but because of societal gender norms, she was not able to publish them under her own name. Therefore, she published them under F. Scott Fitzgerald’s name and gave him the credit, of which she eventually became tired. For a time when women, along with many other groups, are being oppressed, this would be a great book to read.

Many young adults like a fast-paced book, commonplace in the young adult (YA) genre. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is quite the opposite. However, do not be fooled by its pace. Each chapter takes the reader through a chapter of Zelda’s life. This slow pace helps the development of character to be more prominent, whether it is negatively or positively developed. Some chapters seemed too long, but were made that way very intentionally.

Overall, this novel has very few problems. Readers get to know Zelda as both a character and a human being, both as Zelda Sayre and Zelda Fitzgerald. This book is perfect for a time when women are struggling for gender equality. Zelda definitely represents all the women who had so much to give but didn’t have the support to do so. If she were alive today…she would rule the world.

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One Comment

  1. I have been fascinated with F Scott Fitzgerald ever since we read “The Great Gatsby” in high school.
    I had never much cared to read about his wife, Zelda. When Amazon debuted the new show based on the novel, I was immediately sucked in and had to read the book, and wow! I wish I had sooner.
    This gives you a real behind the scenes look at their life together, and I suspected but never knew for sure how much of her is represented in his work. This was a great read!

    http://www.booksummary.blog

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