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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
A novel that is as heartbreaking as it is mesmerizing.
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Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Created: 02/27/13

Replies: 34

Posted Feb. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 402

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Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed the book. Like "The Paris Wife" and "Hemingway's Girl," this fictionalized bio/history gives a new perspective to the lives of the literary rich and famous. I had been fairly unaware of Zelda's literary talent and the fact that Scott Fitzgerald kept her work from the public to protect his fragile ego. It is rather a sad commentary on the literary scene and the way in which fast and loose living takes its toll on writers and their loved ones.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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rosannes

Join Date: 01/29/13

Posts: 21

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I am not a fan of biographies but I love to learn about famous people. Z fit the bill so perfectly. Like The Paris Wife or Loving Frank it was well written and informative. I think this book presented Zelda in a much better light than I expected. In fact, I was sorry that she ever married F Scott. I think her life held so much promise that was wasted on him.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 73

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed it a lot. I had read a biography of Zelda many years ago and found this author took a whole new approach to her personality. I ended up a bit confused as this one gave her much more of a "take charge" personality and framed her mental health problems as perhaps even being just a way for her husband to get her out of his way so she couldn't compete with him. I honestly think this version might be closer to the truth as I know strong willed women didn't fare too well during this era of history and were sometimes diagnosed as hysteric and locked away for years when all they were doing was asserting their individuality.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethw

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I found this to be a fascinating read and have shared my copy with several friends who also enjoyed it. Certainly as a teacher who has taught The Great Gatsby, I found many ways to relate her life to the novel.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

This book was a delightful surprise. My previous knowledge of Zelda Fitzgerald was very limited - in fact, mostly I heard about her alcoholism, but interestingly not Scott's problems with alcohol. I thought the book was well written and it held my attention. I now want to read more about Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald as they came across as such cads, contrary to my previous views.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cherylk

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 17

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

In my reading experience, Zelda was almost an afterthought compared to the great F. Scott. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and believe Ms. Fowler gave a voice to a remarkable woman. Zelda was definitely flawed, yet had considerable talent that was not recognized as she experienced life in the shadow of her husband. I am recommending this book to my book club.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shirleyl

Join Date: 06/01/11

Posts: 13

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed this book very much. It was interesting to read about such a familiar couple as Scott and Zelda. It is a cautionary tale in that what we think we know- from the media or "friends" - about a famous person is often inaccurate. We may think we know a celebrity from magazines and the press, but we don't. We only know what some individual wants us to know.


Posted Mar. 25, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sandrah

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 42

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

After a slow start, I got "into" the book and found it hard to put down. The author helped us to see both Zelda and Scott through their weaknesses and their strengths, which made them real for me. Too often have been given only cardboard, one-dimensional views.

Having read "The Paris Wife" as well as Hemingway's own "a Moveable Feast," I liked the way this author filled in the Fitzgerald's characters. I also found her comments at the end of the novel useful. While we will never know precisely what Zelda suffered from, the idea that she might have been biPolar at a time when it was not identified, makes sense. Zelda also lived at a time when women were expected to live as wives and mothers who had little ability to develop their own talents. This is especially seen in the character of her father, her mother's comments about how to have a successful marriage, and the psychiatrists who treated her. Scott's insecurities and inability to believe in himself is also explored.

Overall, this provocative book has made me go back to more critical writings and to the texts of Fitzgerald's novels.


"The reader lives a 1000 lives before he dies. The [person] who never reads lives only one."
George R.R. Martin.
Posted Mar. 26, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I have a bit of trouble reading fictional biography, because I don't like having to wonder where truth leaves off and fiction starts. I'm a little anal that way. Maybe it's the librarian in me!

In Z, I believe the basics are reliable. There's a lot of factual info about the two of them out there and it shouldn't be difficult at all to do the research. Of course, Fowler had to put thoughts into the heads of all the characters and fictional create scenes to flesh out the story. That's the part that makes me feel a little nervous. I don't want to have false impressions about people who actually existed, especially when they're in the literary realm. That's my field.

I've always found Zelda an intriguing person. Scott as well. I enjoyed the book enough that it made me want to read a bio of each of them and seek out writing by Zelda. I wish I had time to do that now, after finishing Z. It would be a great way to help me separate truth from fiction and I'd just feel a whole lot better.


Posted Mar. 26, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joanp

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 23

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I have read all of Scott Fitzgerald's published work and most of his biographies. I also read Budd Schulberg's book about Scott's last trip to Dartmouth working on a film script, and Sheila Graham's Beloved Infidel about Scott's time with her in Hollywood. While reading Z I got out the Nancy Mitford biography of Zelda. Z is quite accurate and written in an interesting way. I found myself sympathizing with Zelda and then Scott and finally feeling that there was some self destructive destiny that couldn't be stopped.


Posted Mar. 26, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

joanp,

Thanks for mentioning the Mitford bio of Zelda. I'll put that on my list of bios to read.


Posted Mar. 26, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
johannam

Join Date: 03/24/13

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I love this genre and always learn alot about the person as well as the time in history. Which by the way I wish I was stronger at and why I am grateful for this wonderful way to reference different periods. I was fortunate to visit Paris last summer and often think about my trip as I read about now familiar places. Also I chose Z because of the movie version of THE GREAT GATSBY that is coming out this summer. I too will look for some of Zelda's writings!


Posted Mar. 26, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bevula

Join Date: 10/18/10

Posts: 40

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I also knew very little of Zelda (I honestly had her conflated in my head with the Ziegfield Follies, which makes no sense) and was thrilled to see it was connected to the literary hot-shots of America in the early part of this century.

Once I was 50 pages in, I couldn't put it down. I went on vacation just after I started it - and read it every free second. The character development is incredible, and I just got more and more angry as the book went on. I wish this was the first example I'd seen where 'a woman not accepting her place' was equal to 'a woman is mentally unstable.' And yet another example of a man taking credit for his wife's work, ugh.


Posted Mar. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joanp

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 23

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I wrote Nancy Mitford for the Zelda biography and it should be Milford. Matthew Bruccoli is a great source. I read Save Me the Waltz many years ago and enjoyed Zelda's only novel.


Posted Mar. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I thought is was a very enjoyable and informative read. I had not read a bio of Z but knew there was a background of instability. I am recommending it to my friends and feel it is a pretty accurate account of their lives. I watched the Midnight in Paris movie again, which I loved. This type of book shows you their flaws but also their talents and puts you in the era they lived.


Posted Mar. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 108

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed this book a lot and have recommended it to many of my friends! I think the author did a lot of research, and I appreciated the subtle historical references that went along with the life story. For example, the new electric lights (page 30), enduring carpetbagger prejudices in the Deep South (30), "Manhattan's two million inhabitants" (p.101) etc.


Posted Mar. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Every year I buy myself books for my birthday (because no one knows which I don't already own). This year I'm ordering both Zelda's novel and Milford's bio. Thanks so much, joanp!


Posted Mar. 27, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 51

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I liked this book, but it differed quite a bit from other books I have read about Zelda. She has been portrayed as much edgier than in this book. I did love all the historical references and the easy, and smooth flow of this novel.


Posted Mar. 28, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debrap

Join Date: 10/26/12

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Absolutely loved it, could not put it down...I saw myself in this book as I navigated through the 70's, being young and believing that anything was possible..taking unreasonable risks and staying in unhealthy situations because of what I believed to be love...


Posted Mar. 29, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bonnieclyde

Join Date: 03/07/13

Posts: 16

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I truly enjoyed it. It encouraged me to do a little research into this time period and a little more reading about those Roaring '20's.


Posted Mar. 29, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sherrillb

Join Date: 02/16/12

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I really liked the book. i have always wanted to read at least one of scott s books and now i would like to even more the author done a super job researching and making the story real.


Posted Mar. 30, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kateg

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I, too really liked this book. I have read The Paris Wife and The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, so I was intrigued to read about the same group of people from a different perspective.


Posted Mar. 30, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 42

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I found Z a little difficult to get into. It might be because after so many years of teaching The Fitzgerald novels and researching the lives of both Zelda and F. Scott, I seem to have acquired much of the material presented by this author. I do think, however, Fowler has done a good job in illustrating the topsy-turvy lives of two very complex and talented individuals. For those interested in learning more about Zelda, I would suggest the biography ZELDA by Nancy Milford.


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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catherinem

Join Date: 10/06/11

Posts: 19

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Oh, to have been alive and residing in Paris during the 1920s! To have had discussions with the Hemingways, or to have been invited to sit with Gertrude Stein (although, most likely, I would have been sent to the kitchen with Alice and Zelda); to have visited Ezra Pound, or dined at a cafe with Picasso! What an experience for Zelda! And, what an amazing experience for all of them to have known her. The character Gil (played by Owen Wilson) in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" lives out my fantasy.


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kristinak

Join Date: 10/18/12

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

It was difficult to read this novel having seen Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris." I kept hearing the actors' voices in my head while reading the book. Like MarieA, I found the book difficult to get into, but perhaps that was intentional as it emphasizes Zelda's sheltered, insular life in Alabama prior to meeting Scott. The momentum picks up halfway through, but overall, the novel inspired me to re-read Nancy Mitford's wonderful biography of Zelda, called "Zelda."


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 93

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I was not a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing, so I wasn't sure about reading this book. As it turns out, I did like the book, especially since it was about Zelda and only about Scott as far as how he affected Zelda. I learned a lot about the time, 1920's, and got a feeling for the life of a new age woman. My grandmother cut her hair and had it bobbed during the 20's and I always felt she was a modern woman. So this book gave me some insight into her life. It held up my feeling of dislike for the authors of that time. (Fitzgerald, Hemingway) They were really lousy men. I felt for Zelda and saw her great potential being stifled and it angered me. I have recommended this book to others.


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beac

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I thought it was more lively and interesting than "A Paris Wife", but because it was written after that one, it seems to lose some of it's originality. I have several friends that I have recommended it to, all Hemmingway fans.


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianac

Join Date: 04/02/13

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I, too, had a hard time putting this book down, but for very different reasons. It was like a gory train wreck you drive past and can't take your eyes off. The total dysfunction drew me in and honestly, I couldn't wait to see what tragic shambles their lives would become.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
SusanC.

Join Date: 03/25/13

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I truly enjoyed the book and I have already sent it to my mother in Florida. I had just finished "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg so this was an odd follow up to that ultimate Woman Empowerment message. It certainly changed my view of Zelda. While I am aware that she was mentally challenged I do believe that Scott was just as mentally challenged and the match was doomed from the start. I agree with the member who wrote that it was a fast read because it was such a train wreck. It really is a good view of what an alcoholic/enabling/obsessive compulsive marriage is like. In the end I felt that if Zelda were born in a different time (say post 1969) she would be a very successful artist/author/dancer today.


Posted Apr. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 41

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

The style of this as a historical novel and told from the point of view of the heroine is very readable as well as informative. Zelda's character is so real and your empathy for her grows throughout the novel. The lifestyle of the times and the many famous people brought into the story bring to life the history and volatility of the lives of the rich and famous of the flapper age. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and hope that Ms. Fowler will continue to research and write some of history's other famous characters in such a personal way. I especially enjoyed the way the story brought out the conflicts for a woman of her upbringing and culture of the times. I will be recommending this book to my book groups. It will be a nice comparison to The Paris Wife which many of my book group members discussed last year. Hemingway was portrayed as an unfeeling self-centered jerk in that book and seems he fared no better in this one.


Posted Apr. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carmen s

Join Date: 04/27/11

Posts: 33

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed the book. I loved reading about all the different places and the people they met. I love anything about prohibition. I have not read any of his books but now will and also Hemmingways.


Posted Apr. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathleenw

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 15

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I LOVE this book! I have recommended it to many of my friends for a variety of different reasons. For those who already know about F. Scott and Zelda, it is a wonderful behind-the-scenes, "could have been" kind of read. For those who know of The Great Gatsby from high school or seeing one of the movie versions, it helps to flesh out the characters. For F. Scott and/or Hemingway fans, it can be quite controversial. As historical fiction, it is a great read, well-written, well researched, and simply a good story.


Posted Apr. 28, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
barbarab

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 27

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

I enjoyed this book immensely. I loved the time period & the "rich" of that time. This book made me like Zelda more than I did before. She was more likable & less self absorbed as I had thought of her . Reading this book made F. Scott less likable to me, although he is one of my favorite novelists


Posted Apr. 28, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Sharlene

Join Date: 04/10/13

Posts: 30

RE: Overall, what do you think of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

Up to now, I have known very little about Scott and Zelda except for the fact that they lived a very wild life among the rich and famous. I have been much more familiar with Hemingway having read The Paris Wife and other books about his many marriages. I found the fact that Zelda had considerable talent in her own right very interesting and enjoyed the book overall.


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