September 24th is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday. I have to admit, one of the joys of reading Fitzgerald are his abhorrent characters. Everyone is so rich, so pithy, so good looking, and above all else so fucking blond that they make me sick. And then Fitzgerald lets them have it. All of their darling vices overwhelm them, crippling or destroying them. I find it embarrassingly satisfying. Pure literary schadenfreude. I’m not going to lie, I’ve hate read, “Beautiful and Damned” far too many times, gripping the pages and mentally punching every character. But then I get to the end and think, “that was good. That was justice. I love you Scotty.” He’s one of my top five authors and I find his life is as interesting as his work.
Gerald and Sara Murphy were socialites and friends of the Fitzgeralds- scratch that- they were friends of everybody. If you love the mood and time period of the 1910s through the 1930s, you’ll find this book endlessly fascinating. Spoiler- just like Fitzgerald’s characters, they have a terrible end.
I freely admit I love Zelda as much as her husband. Don’t believe Hemingway. She was magnificent. Scott plundered her diaries for his heroines, including Nicole Diver of “Tender is the Night.” When she had a chance to read the finished book, she felt so betrayed she had another breakdown.
Annnnnd Hemingway’s posthumous fuck you to everyone he knew. From slyly referring to the nameless Murphys as “the understanding rich” who were determined to corrupt his talent to exposing Scott Fitzgerald’s small penis, this book is a non stop shit talking fest with poor Ernest at the center just trying to be so darned authentic and write really good books. Take it with a grain of salt and enjoy Hemingway’s vigorous writing style.
And if you’re feeling the bug to live out your inner flapper, dig in to some of the books above, make a gin & tonic (try Bombay Sapphire. It’s amazing.) and lounge around in your decadent drop waisted dress. Here are some Burda patterns that are in a 1920s style.
From Burdastyle 4/2011
And yes, I can Charleston.