Library Reads: Therese Anne Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

I think Zelda Fitzgerald might be one of my favorite historical figures now. I did do my own research on her while reading just to get an idea of what was fact, and what was added to bring some interesting twist to the story. Of course, I think you have to keep in their are two sides of the story as well, and this is novel is wrote in first person. Being from her point of view, you have to remember you have one side of the story.

Summary: Zelda is just a girl from Montgomery Alabama who could only dream of the big life that involves the city.  When she meets F. Scott Fitzgerald she falls for him, and even waits out the couple of years it takes for him to be ready to marry. Marrying him will uproot her life from the life she knows in the country though, and not all for the better. While she enjoys the parties, the drinking, and lavish life Fitzgerald’s first novel’s success brings, there are other parts of Zelda that begin to flare to make her life difficult like a stomach problem, and her fragile mental health. Everything she seems to find to over power the problems she has seems shuts down by higher powers than her though.

Characters: I think the characters are could easily be unlikable, but their struggles are what give them something for the reader to relate to. F. Scott Fitzgerald I think is well characterized despite the fact we are seeing everything from Zelda’s point of view. Zelda could easily be perceived as selfish, but her struggles as a woman are well conveyed, and definitely highlight the difference of the feminist movement then and now.

Writing: I think a lot could have done to make this book stand out a lot more though. The story does rely on narrative at time when dialogue should have been happening. I felt the book just seemed to be telling me sometimes instead of showing me the life of Zelda through her real interactions and dialogues with other people. That dialogue happens, but there were times I was smacking my head wondering why more wasn’t done at that moment in the story. For example, the first argument noted in the story is just summed up in one sentence.

Plot: The plot is one that follows Zelda essentially from the time she met Fitzgerald to the time he dies. In a way to depict such a feminist character, it seems an insult to still do what the book was depicting her upset over, which was her inability to escape the fame the her husband had, to make a name of her own, even in this book it only really depicts the aspect of her life that was in correlation to when he was alive in it. It would have been interesting to go further into her childhood, and beyond into those years after Fitzgerald had died, but the time after his death is just summarized. I think while the book did present me to information that was intriguing and definitely got me more interested in her life, it did lack on really bringing the story aspect to life. If you’re going to weave in some fiction to make this more of a story then go all out.

Z is a novel that reads well at times, and at others makes you feel sad it didn’t push the story to the next level by bring the characters to life through actually showing us their interaction as if we are living in that very moment with Zelda. Instead, a lot of things are told as if they have already passed through her eyes, which makes no sense because she dies, so even then she couldn’t really tell the audience her life. It’s a great potential story, but one not woven all the way through to make it a classic about a classic.

Rating 7 of 10.

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