Sunday, April 07, 2013

Z: A Novel About Zelda Fitzgerald

Most fans of classic American literature, especially fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald, know at least a few basic facts about Zelda Sayre, the Alabama beauty who became his wife at the end of World War I.  As famous during their lifetime for their high-living lifestyle as for the fiction Fitzgerald produced, the pair considered themselves to be the epitome of the “Jazz Age.”  Whatever else might be said about them, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald were two of a kind, and they and their marriage crashed and burned in relative short order. 

Some blame Zelda for what happened to them; some blame Scott.  The truth, however, is that both of them enthusiastically embraced the lifestyle that would ultimately be their ruin.  Therese Anne Fowler’s new book, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, uses Zelda’s voice and perspective to tell their story.   And what a story it is.

The novel opens in Zelda’s hometown of Montgomery, Alabama.  It is June of 1918 and Zelda is only 26 days from her eighteenth birthday.  Beautiful, and part of a wealthy and respected Alabama family, Zelda already has more than her fair share of suitors.  But it is Lt. Scott Fitzgerald, a “Yankee interloper” stationed at nearby Camp Sheridan, who will win her heart.

Zelda, never having traveled far from home, was stunned by the lifestyle she and Scott assumed immediately following their marriage.  But, as Fowler vividly portrays in the novel, that lifestyle would ultimately cost them their health, their sanity, and their very lives.  Theirs was definitely not a marriage made in heaven, but for many, it represents the classic Jazz Age marriage.

Therese Anne Fowler
Therese Anne Fowler breathes new life into the stereotypical image that most have of Zelda Fitzgerald - although, sadly enough, much of the Zelda Fitzgerald stereotype seems to have been true. Zelda, a budding feminist, wanted more out of life than just being the silent, compliant wife that her husband demanded she be.  As much of a rebel Fitzgerald was regarding his own behavior, he required his wife to perform her “wifely duties” in the most conservative manner possible.  Her role, as he saw it, was to support him in his efforts; everything else was secondary.  This proved to be the wedge that would ultimately ruin their marriage.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is an eye-opener that will be appreciated by fans of historical fiction as well as by those who more specifically enjoy reading novels about authors and their books.

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)


  1. This book has been on my radar since it's release....I had a feeling it could go either way....either very good or very cliche. Thanks for reviewing it!

  2. Michele, I really enjoyed Z but it was kind of like watching an impending train wreck, with two speeding trains headed for each other on a single track. I think I learned a lot about both Scott and Zelda as a result of reading this one.