Monday, April 29, 2013

Call Me Zelda - Book Review

Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, was famous for her shenanigans as a flapper and ex-patriot during the roaring 20's. She and Scott traveled through Europe playing with Hemingway and other wealthy artists. But her later life was not so rosy. In Call Me Zelda, Erika Robuck presents Zelda's harrowing, manic struggles with mental illness and Scott's terrible alcoholism through the eyes of Anna, a loyal nurse. The novel shows an interesting view of Zelda's life, far removed from the fast-paced Jazz Age.

Similar in style Robuck's Hemingway's Girl, which I read last fall and very much enjoyed, Call Me Zelda is as much or more about Anna than Zelda. In fact, I didn't feel very connected to Zelda or Scott in this book. They felt like only prop characters in the background and even though the events they were going through at the time were terribly emotional, there were only brief moments in this novel that seemed to adequately capture their passion.

Anna's story never grasped by attention as well as Mariella's story in Hemingway's Girl. In Call Me Zelda, the writing is crisp and fine tuned but seems to skirt upon the surface of the deeper feelings and emotions of the characters. The ending feels completely disconnected with the rest of the novel and at several points the pace lagged. I had very high hopes for this novel, since I am a fan of Hemingway's Girl and because I am fascinated by the Fitzgeralds, but ultimately Call Me Zelda was just not as good.

** I received a complimentary copy of Call Me Zelda in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was received. **

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