Saturday, April 27, 2013
REVIEW: Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book touched me in a specific way . . . and it's rare to come across a book that gets you right when you're thinking or questioning the thing that its addressing. Z was this way for me.
It's the story of Zelda Fitzgerald when she started to be Mrs. Fitzgerald. We don't get too much of all the before- when she was Zelda Sayre, because the focus was on her being Zelda Fitzgerald, told from her own perspective. Which was good most of the time--I think I would have preferred if it was told in 3rd person, but I don't think it being told in first person really was detrimental to the story. Sometimes the dialogue kind of lagged, for me, but that was minor.
And wow, what a story. I loved how we saw her struggle with defining herself. A struggle for her entire married life--what does it mean to be a wife? A mother? and how do those roles fit in with being a person? Your own person? This is what struck me the most- her search for her own identity, and how it fit in with everything else in her life. She struggled with this search, and didn't succeed a lot of the time- evidenced by the unhappiness and mental instability that she experienced in periods throughout her life. It was like she was trying to fit the puzzle piece of herself--her identity--in with the rest of the puzzle, but the piece didn't quite fit, and she tried putting it in different ways, and in different places, but struggled to get that snug fit where everything feels in place and in order, harmonious and happy. A lot of that struggle, obviously, came from the often tragic situation of her husband, his vices, his friends, his artistic sensibility and need.
I loved the taste of her life that this book gave. The parties, the salons, the friends, surrounded by art and the beauty and often pain that comes with it. I've never read anything about Zelda before, but I felt connected to her in her struggle--which was so wonderfully showcased in this book--and then just wondered at the dazzle that her life had sometimes. And I felt like this book sparkled . . . in the moments when they were at the height of the success and parties and fun, and also as it examined Zelda herself and her talents, loves, dark places, hopes and determination.