Tag Archives: Therese Anne Fowler

‘Z’ TV Series- I hate hating F. Scott Fitzgerald

13 Feb

Poster via Amazon

Poster via Amazon

Normally, the targeted ads I see online are random things I Googled once and I can ignore them. But from time to time, they’re something I’m head-over-heels excited about and this is one of those times. Amazon did a 10-episode series about Zelda Fitzgerald based on Therese Anne Fowler’s novel Z which I read last year. I was super excited and got to watching it right away.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Zelda. Wow, Christina Ricci was amazing in this series. Her accent, her dress, her reactions, it was all great. I could see Zelda in Montgomery and she was a rebel when she wanted to be and a southern lady when she wanted to be. And then in New York, she was almost the same. She was an icon when she wanted to be and a wife when she wanted to be. Her character is very adaptable but at the same time, has a strong personality and sense of who she is. I loved it.

Montgomery. I’ve considered going to Montgomery now that I’ve seen this. It could be a great winter-time vacation when I’m sick of the snow. It was beautiful and it gave off a great feeling of home that helps me understand why Zelda wants to go back.

The Flapper look. The look Zelda creates developed slowly through the show and I thought it was wonderful. She has all of her frills and lace that she loves so much but doesn’t fit in with New York women. When she tries to blend in with their clothes, she realizes it isn’t for her and the way she finds her own median is wonderful. The show does a great job of showing her settle into her own style.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Visiting Princeton. I don’t remember this from the book but I could be wrong. It gave a really good sense of Scott’s personality. He had kept from Zelda that he never finished school like he’s kept many other things from her. He made the whole thing so about himself that it ruined things for everyone else. He signed books that weren’t his and that he couldn’t pay for. He threw a fit and insulted people who supported him. He got drunk to avoid confrontation and put himself in a terrible situation. It was very telling of how their life would continue forward.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Zelda’s birthday party. The party he puts on for her was a turning point in the book when Zelda started taking him seriously as a suitor. I think it would have played out wonderfully on-screen, but it was for some reason overlooked.

Zelda’s awareness of their financial troubles. She is more aware in the book early on of his excessive spending and reins herself back. She rejects some of his extravagant gifts (again, not in the show) and encourages him to not celebrate as much. All of this was missing.

Things That Changed Too Much

Scott. I didn’t like the Scott in the book much, but the one in the show made me angry. He was so full of himself that he was completely unlikable and I felt the actor was terrible. He never seemed serious, only joking or angry. He didn’t spoil Zelda at all and when she complained, wrote her off completely. This show has made me hate Scott so much.

I hope there will be more seasons of this show. Scottie hasn’t even been born yet and Fowler has so much more of Zelda’s story to share. The very opening implied that the show would go through the entire novel and I hope I get to see that. Reader, have you seen the TV show? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

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Book Review: Z by Therese Anne Fowler (4/5)

8 Dec

First NaNo problem: remembering enough of this book to write a review about it! I finished this book back on 17-November so I’m digging into my heart for this one. Expect more of a review on how the book made me feel than the plot. I wanted to read this book because I’m fascinated with ‘the original flapper.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald defined the flappers in his novels and he and his wife were the epitomai of the movement. My 1920s fascination couldn’t let me ignore a book about her! I found the book at a Friends of the Library sale but decided to listen to the audiobook so I could get to it sooner.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Summary from Goodreads:

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too?

Reading this after Call Me Zelda, I wasn’t really sure what to think of Zelda. I knew about her mental illness later in life, but what would she be like as a young, beautiful Southern Belle? I found I liked her a lot. Zelda was a very modern woman for her time and was living in a very rigid environment in Montgomery. I was surprised with the things she dared to do while still living with her parents. Once she moved out and married Scott, it surprised me less. Her life with him was beyond frustrating. I found myself hating Scott who is also the author of one of my favorite books. It was hard not to compare this title to Call me Zelda so I’ll say only that I liked this one better and the small time they did overlap in time was starkly different. Z portrayed Zelda as a victim of Scott’s pressures who was really fine while Call Me Zelda implied Zelda was truly very sick but did add that Scott was no help at all. Maybe I need a whole post for this!

I found Zelda very believable. I wasn’t sure if she would be because I know she develops mental illnesses later in life and I wasn’t sure how much Flower would incorporate those early in her story. I was also surprised how believable Scott was. I think very highly of him because of his writing but I really hated how it much of a drunk he was and how much he controlled Zelda. He was unpredictable and I felt really bad for Zelda. She could never have the things she wanted. The ballet story broke my heart the worst and how they both reacted to it was very telling of their entire relationship.

Zelda shone in her own story. I thought Fowler did a great job bringing her to life and showing how she was smart and independent while still being a devoted wife when she had to. She was very different from her contemporaries but very relatable for a modern woman in the 21st Century. I understood her desire to be independent of Scott and have things she was passionate about and successful in on her own. I liked that about her and I can see why she was such a rebel in her time.

It’s easy to think of someone in your life who was overbearing the way Scott was to Zelda, be it a parent, spouse, sibling, teacher, boss, or someone else. Every little thing you do is wrong or your ability to decide is taken away. I could relate to this part of Zelda’s relationship with Scott (side note, not my husband, don’t send Social Services!). I thought Zelda was very patient with him and I could understand why she pushed back on him toward the end. Sometimes enough is enough!

Therese Anne Fowler Image via Amazon

Therese Anne Fowler
Image via Amazon

The time Scott and Zelda spent in New York right after they were married was the most magical to me. They were both happy and their troubles hadn’t started yet. Both were so glad to be living together and be married and they were enjoying all the parties and fun they could off of Scott’s success. There was no money worry yet and it was before Scotty and Zelda’s passions came between them. It was their honeymoon period to be sure.

The subplot about Hemingway bothered me. I think the animosity between Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds could be attributed to a number of things and I thought Hemingway propositioning Zelda was a bit much. As much as the book made me dislike Scott, it made me feel even more angry about Hemingway than The Paris Wife did. It’s awful when your literary heroes are terrible people. Maybe I need to stop reading about them. I know this is a fictionalized account, but a lot of the book is based on history I know is true but chose to ignore.

Jenna Lamia did an amazing job narrating this book. I was amazed at her ability to slip into and out of accents. She portrayed Zelda with a lovely southern accent but when Scott or another character spoke, she used a Midwestern accent and even had French accents where appropriate. She brought Zelda to life for me in a magnificent way and I’d love to listen to some of her other work.

The Fitzgeralds tried to have everything and they could only keep juggling so many balls for so long. There’s an extent to how perfect someone’s life can be. They may have looked ideal on the outside but on the inside, their marriage struggled and they were unhappy a lot of the time. I think many of us see friends, co-workers, or celebrities that we idealize because their life situation seems so wonderful but we have to remember that there’s likely something going on beneath the surface that’s less than perfect, much like the Fitzgeralds.

Writer’s Takeaway: It’s nice to read an adult novel in the first person. That point of view is used widely in YA but it’s not as common in historical fiction. I liked the point of view for this novel because Zelda was such a personality herself that it would have been completely lost in some omniscient narrator. Like it was lost in Call Me Zelda. She needed to have her own book and I think this was a fair representation of what Zelda would have been like.

I really enjoyed this book and I think the audiobook was an even greater treat than the book alone. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler | Books and Reviews
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler | Violet Wells
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler | Curio Street Reads

WWW Wednesday, 23-November-2016

23 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


birthdayboysCurrently reading: I’m so anxious to get World Without End by Ken Follett. All my audiobooks are about to wrap up and it would be the perfect time to jump back into it full-force. Soon enough…
I’m still making only minor progress with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. It’s slow reading and a lot of it is about the computer industry which is outside what I know. Also, the book is really dated sometimes, asking if the Internet is going to be a big thing for companies to adapt to. Ha!
I was given a copy of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge a few weeks ago and finally started in on the ebook. It’s exactly what I suspected so far, which is a good thing! I’m a fan of Bainbridge’s style so I’m looking forward to this one.
I also started listening to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. My husband has read almost all of the Bard’s works and of the ones written in the 1600s that I haven’t read, he recommended this one. It’s quite short so I should be done soon!

BeastsRecently finished: SO MUCH PROGRESS! I, unexpectedly, finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson on Thursday. I was only at 79% but it turns out the rest of the book was notes and references! That was a pleasant surprise. It was a good read and I almost wish Dodd had been in Germany a bit longer, but I can’t change history.
I also finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler on Thursday. It was a bit more abrupt than I was expecting but it was appropriate. The part of Zelda’s life when she was in treatment was glossed over a lot so it sped to the end quickly. Still, the book was really enjoyable.
I’ll have a lot of book reviews to write at the beginning of December because I also finished The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I didn’t enjoy this one much, to be honest. I’m a bit nervous about reading another Ferrante novel but I’ve got one on my shelf so I’ll get to it eventually.

breakoutReading Next: There are a few options. I’d like to start working with Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass as part of NaNoWriMo. I should get through this re-read of my novel and be able to start on some serious editing with the book before the end of the month.
The other option is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January selection. For that club, January will be my last meeting before I have to miss three months due to class. (I’ve already cried over this.) I might delay starting it a bit so it’s fresh in my mind for the meeting.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 16-November-2016

16 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


paranoidCurrently reading: I got through just a little with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I have a bit of time at my new doctors to read a few pages before he’ll come into the exam room. It’s something right?
Still no World Without End by Ken Follett. I’m about in a perfect spot for it. Maybe the book genies are waiting for me?
I’m getting close with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I’m starting to see how this book and Zelda in her 20s can lead into the Zelda I read about in Call Me Zelda when she’s older. It’s fun to have read them in this order but maybe chronologically would have been better.
Since The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante is so short, I’m almost done with it. I might have finished it by the time you read this! I’m not a huge fan so far. I hope the ending can bring everything together for me.
It’s been slow with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. Business books are never too engrossing but it’s mostly been that I’m so tired when I finally get to bed! I’ll try to buckle down and get some of it read but no promises.

Recently finished: Nothing! I’m falling back into the “tons or none” phase of reading. I need to stop starting so many books at the same time, haha.

Reading Next: My book club will be announcing our next pick soon so that will be the next one I pick up. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a Shakespeare before then? Depends on how soon I find out!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-November-2016

9 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


lostdaughterCurrently reading: Nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I got it renewed again but I’m not sure I’ll find the time to devote to it. I know, it’s sad. I’m enjoying the book, too! I think I’m not too far from the end.
I’m so certain I’ll get World Without End by Ken Follett soon. I’m next in line for the hold and I’ll dedicate my time to the book 100% when I get it.
I’ve enjoyed Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so far. The narration is great but I’m starting to feel really bad for Zelda! I want better things to happen to her but having read more about the end of her life, I know it’s not all rosy.
I began The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante on Friday and I’m already making substantial progress on it. The file is just under 5 hours long so I’m expecting to finish this one soon. Which will leave me time for Follett as soon as it comes back!
I started reading Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. This is a book my old boss recommended and said it was very influential to him so I’ve wanted to read it forever. Finally going to get to it!

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Recently finishedStiff by Mary Roach was really fun. I finished it early Thursday morning while I was running and was thinking about it most of the rest of the day. My review of it went out yesterday so please go check that out. I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.
I finished The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham on Friday so WOOO for finishing books! It was a better week than I expected. My review will be up around December 1st as I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo and will not be posting (besides WWW Wednesday, of course) until December. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: I’m thinking of reading a Shakespeare to finish up the When Are You Reading? Challenge but haven’t decided on one yet. Can anyone recommend one that’s specifically set in the 1600s? If not, I’ll pick any because they were written in the time period. Close enough!


I have MY FINAL TODAY (!!!!) so please be patient with me due to delayed responses.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 2-November-2016

2 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


zCurrently reading: So far not much at all with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’d be happy to finish this before the end of the year, but I’m not sure even that will happen!
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I’ve got to be getting it back soon, right? The only problem is when to listen to it now that I have two other audiobooks going!
Stiff by Mary Roach has been a fun read. I’m getting close to the end and it’s safe to say I learned a lot but it hasn’t always been things I think I’ll use in my daily conversations. Roach has a great style and I’m curious about her other books now.
I’m getting close to the end of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. There’s only been one part so far I didn’t think was believable but I’ve really enjoyed this book.
It will be a slow go with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler only because I’m not planning on driving a lot any time soon and this one is in my car only. I like the story and the narrator is great but this will be here a while.

Recently finished: As expected, after last week’s tidal wave, noting finished this week. I think a few will be here next week so I’m optimistic.

lostdaughterReading Next: My book club met Monday and I’ve been reminded that my next book will be The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I have another of her books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten to yet but it comes highly recommended so I’m excited to start with this shorter title.
I’m in need of some help to finish my reading challenge this year. Can anyone recommend a book that’s set in the 1600s? It’s the only time period I have left for the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Thanks to anyone who can help!


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 26-October-2016

26 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Cat DancingCurrently reading: I think I got through one chapter of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’m still enjoying this one even though I’m going through it so slowly. I always read ebooks slowly so this is no surprise.
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. Ugh.
I was able to start Stiff by Mary Roach on Friday. I introduced my coworker to audiobooks and he wanted to start this one during a work trip to Cleveland. We got through almost three hours of it and I’m going to show him how to get books on his phone so he can finish it himself. Yay!
I started The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. It’s more of a Western than I was expecting which is wonderful. I don’t remember the last time I read a Western and I’m really enjoying it!
I started the audiobook of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. This book focuses more on Zelda before the plot of Call Me Zelda so it will be interesting to listen to these two close to each other and compare the character.

bookofliesRecently finished: My book tidal wave came! I finished three this week. The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer was my latest finished, earlier this week. It was fun to listen to a thriller but it always seems like some things are too convenient in this genre and it bothers me from time to time. Overall, enjoyable. My review will come next week.
I finished Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck last Thursday. It was a little too over-dramatic for me at times and too slow at others. Overall, everything tied up well and I liked that but it wasn’t quite right for me. My review went up yesterday.
I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova and have already watched the movie. Wow! The writing in this book was a little weak in places in my opinion, but the plot was great and I’m really amazed at Genova’s ability to write Alice. My review went up Monday.

Reading Next: I try not to do this, but I’m not going to put anything here this week. I’m just starting so many books, it’s hard to say when they’ll be over and I’m not anticipating anything just yet.


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!