Review: Call Me Zelda
Author: Erika Robuck
Published: May 7, 2013
Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
From New York to Paris, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald reigned as king and queen of the Jazz Age, but those who really knew them saw their inner turmoil.
Committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932, Zelda vacillates between lucidity and madness as she fights to forge an identity independent of her famous husband. She discovers a sympathetic ear in her nurse Anna Howard, who finds herself drawn into the Fitzgerald’s tumultuous lives and wonders which of them is the true genius. But in taking greater emotional risks to save Zelda, Anna may end up paying a far higher price than she ever intended.
In this thoroughly researched, deeply moving novel, Erika Robuck explores the boundaries of female friendship, the complexity of marital devotion, and the sources of both art and madness.
I was drawn to this book because of a movie I watched a long time ago. It was about Zelda Fitzgerald and her life with F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't remember the name, nor could I find it. However with the movie Gatsby coming out a little while ago, there has been a surge of interest in the Fitzgeralds.
Call Me Zelda is told through her nurse, Anna. Anna works at the psychiatric hospital that Zelda is admitted to in 1932. Zelda and Anna form a quick friendship. Anna is drawn to Zelda's personality. She is warned to keep her distance and not to get too attached, but Anna slowly finds herself drawn into the Fitzgerald's disorderly lives. Scott and Zelda have a love-hate relationship. It's very rocky to say the least. Their relationship reminded me of Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. They loved each other to a fault. Their love hurt the people around them, but they couldn't stay away from each other.
Zelda's story is told through the eyes of Anna. Anna is damaged as well. She lost her husband and child and hasn't really recovered from it. Somehow her connection with Zelda starts to heal her old wounds.
The Fitzgeralds are fascinating. Erika Robuck did a great job with this story. She mixed true details with fiction to help make this story believable. For example, Scott took Zelda's diaries and used part of them in his books, such as The Great Gatsby. I really enjoyed reading this book. It fueled the fire I have for reading books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it also made me curious to read the books Zelda wrote as well. This is a book I would recommend to anyone curious about the Fitzgeralds life. While there are some truthful elements to this book, it is fiction but entertaining nonetheless.