I happen to be a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald and, as you know, I am also a big fan of fiction based on reality….so, of course, I was drawn to this novel. I was not disappointed. Truly an enjoyable read. The author, Sally Koslow, has used our protagonist, gossip columnist, Sheilah Graham’s, diaries, memoirs, interviews and letters to tell this story of their love affair.
The beginning of the book explores Graham’s childhood (reads like a Dickens novel, but worse) her time in England, her journey to the States and her transformation into a writer. Fascinating stuff, to say the least. She was a rival to Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, all competing to get the scoop on the newest who was “seen with whom”! Her meeting with Fitzgerald, whose writing career wasin decline and who is trying to eke out a living writing scripts for movies in the ‘30’s, not to much success, is Kismet. His alcoholism is definitely a contributing factor to his writing slump. This affliction also contributes to the ups, major, and downs, also major, of this star crossed affair. While Sheilah (Fitzgerald always misspells her name, Shielah, similar to a gentleman friend of mine, Nina…done to annoy, or just don’t know or care, I wonder….).
Of course, Zelda and Scottie are always a huge part of the scenario, divorce is not in the picture and Scottie is at Vassar so not a frequent visitor. The love between Fitzgerald and Graham is intense, heaven when he is sober, tragic when he is drunk. He writes his last, unfinished, some consider his best work, The Last Tycoon, 1940 just before his death based on his Hollywood years and his time with Sheilah.
I must admit I want to reread all his work as well as hers, especially Beloved Infidel, 1959, which I read when it was first published.
I think you will enjoy their story, I know I did. As usual, I recommend you support your local bookseller, mine is The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois
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