Zelda and Scott's life seems to be a never ending party, but as the years go on Zelda finds that their relationship may not be all the fun and games she thought. As Scott's stress rises and his drinking problem worsens, infidelity and abuse lurks in the shadows and arguments are a regular occurrence. Just when it seems like Zelda can't take anymore, the couple decides to leave for France with their young daugher, Scottie, so that Scott can finish writing without distractions. Feeling lonely and bored in this new country, it's not long before Zelda finds herself in the arms of another, but will this be the end for her and Scott?
What I Liked:
- Literary References: I really enjoy all the literary references in this novel. I wish that we got a little bit more detail about how Scott and Zelda interact with all these famous literary names. I think the most exciting moment was when Fowler mentions Djuna Barnes, a female writer who was a contemporary of Scott's and whose novel Nightwood has inspired parts of my own writing.
- Zelda's Ledger: Sometimes Zelda and Scott's life together seems like a whirlwind, and it can be really hard to follow, so Fowler's use of Zelda's ledger-like diary entries help summarize what is happening over a large span of time as well as simplify things and make them a bit easier to understand. I thought it was really interesting and creative.
- On Her Own Two Feet: Our reading this week ends with Zelda taking a stand for herself. We see a lot of Scott's mistreatment of Zelda in this reading, and it's nice to see Zelda finally put her foot down and openly confront him.
What I Didn't Like
- Infidelity: Both Scott and Zelda have their moments of infidelity (though Zelda's is on a much smaller scale). If you have watched the Amazon series based on this book you have seen this in even more detail (although the first season ends towards the beginning of our reading this week when Zelda realizes she is pregnant). I know the infidelity here is integral to the plot, and perhaps even historically accurate, but I'm still not a big fan.
- Scott's Abuse: If I still had a remnant of like for Scott, it all vanished in the scene where Zelda describes him hitting her. Though in the Amazon series, Zelda is never physically hit by Scott in this scene, the novel doesn't shy away from describing the black eye that Zelda receives. I do think that this scene should have gotten a little more attention, since it is glossed over quite a bit. I think one of the strongest moments in the Amazon show is the scene after Zelda and Scott have an altercation in front of her parents, and her mother is left sobbing and heartbroken in their bedroom later that night.
- That Damn Coat: That damn coat scene was super frustrating! While, yes, it was childish of Zelda to continuously hint towards wanting that coat, if Scott knew that they couldn't afford it he shouldn't have bought it for her, and he especially shouldn't of held it against her later that night.
Quote of the Week
"There would be too much everything and not enough anything, and then where would that leave us?" (163).
- I've talked a lot about comparing the Amazon Show to the novel, what are your thoughts? Which scenes are stronger in print than on screen and vice versa? Do you think that the show is a good adaptation? Why or why not?
- Fowler covers a large amount of time in this weeks reading, do you think there is anything that Fowler doesn't discuss enough? What do you think of her gloss over writing technique? How does it correlate to the whirlwind that is Scott and Zelda's life?
- Did anything stick out to you this week that you want to bring up for discussion?