It was for me a mistake to read Erika Robuck’s CALL ME ZELDA (New York: New American Library, 2013) after having read Therese Flower’s Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD (2013). Whereas Z kept me turning the pages, CALL ME ZELDA kept me wondering if I should continue reading. A hundred pages into the novel all I could utter is “ho hum.”
CALL ME ZELDA is the sort of novel that is enjoyed by ladies who want a somewhat romantic story to pass the time while enjoying a good cup of coffee. It is a good story, well written, but only that.
Zelda Fitzgerald is merely a supporting character in a story about Anna Howard, a nurse in a psychiatric clinic. Zelda Fitzgerald, a patient in the clinic, plays a supporting role to Anna. Other characters, like Zelda’s husband the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, move in and out of the story.
CALL ME ZELDA is a bit of light fiction, a notch or two above the cheap paperback romance novels that are cranked out like newspapers. There is really nothing to communicate to the reader any feeling of the Jazz Age. Unlike Flower’s Z, I felt that I knew nothing more about the Fitzgerald’s or the world they so colorfully inhabited than when I began reading.
In the end, I am left with the feeling that this is just a story, one in which the characters are given names that enables it to capitalize on the renewed interest in F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, an interest stirred up by the remake of the movie, THE GREAT GATSBY. Change the names of the characters, and the story would be the same.
Until next time, be good to all God’s creatures and always go under the mercy.
- Call Me Zelda By Erika Robuck (mauriceonbooks.wordpress.com)
- ‘Call me Zelda’: writers take on troubled life of F Scott Fitzgerald’s muse (guardian.co.uk)
- “Hawks Do Not Share”: Re-reconsidering Zelda Fitzgerald (katherinewikoff.com)