Zelda Fitzgerald was the mythical American Dream Girl of the Roaring Twenties who became, in the words of her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, "the first American flapper." Their romance transformed a symbol of glamour and spectacle of the Jazz Age. When Zelda cracked up, not long after the stock market crash of 1929, Scott remained loyal to her through a nightmare of later breakdowns and final madness.
Sally Cline brings us a trenchantly authentic voice through Zelda's own highly autobiographical writings and hundreds of letters she wrote to friends and family, publishers and others. New medical evidence and interviews with Zelda's last psychiatrist suggest that her "insanity" may have been less a specific clinical condition than the product of the treatment she endured for schizophrenia and her husband's devastating alcoholism. In narrating Zelda's tumultuous life, Cline vividly evokes the circle of Jazz Age friends that included Edmund Wilson, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, and H. L. Mencken. Her exhaustive research and incisive analysis animate a profoundly moving portrait of Zelda and provide a convincing context to the legacy of her tragedy.