Book Review: BEAUTIFUL FOOLS: THE LAST AFFAIR OF ZELDA AND SCOTT FITZGERALD

“‘Scott, you know I’m always right about these things,’ she said. ‘Remember how I sent you away and refused to marry you until you finished your novel and became famous? I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t believe in you. I’m not cruel, just practical when I have to be.’

‘Practical and visionary, how rare,’ he said. ‘A lucky combination to find in a wife.’

‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.’

Scott laughed, charmed by her ebullience, by her inexhaustible ability to spin narratives that weaved the past into a tapestry of eternal romance.”

R. Clifton Spargo, BEAUTIFUL FOOLS

Publisher Description

An unforgettable novel that imagines the missing, final chapter in the tragic romance of one of America’s great literary couples.

Beautiful Fools is the story of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald’s last trip together to Cuba to save their passionate but ill-fated marriage. Fighting the demons of alcoholism, mental illness, and failed artistic ambition, but remaining intensely loyal to one another, Zelda and Scott are a heartbreaking testament to the limitlessness of hope.

A love story for the most unyielding of romantics.

My Recommendation

I waited awhile to read this novel, having an irrational fear of other books featuring the Fitzgeralds as fictional characters when my own released just two months ago, and having very strong, specific, and loyal thoughts about my recent muses. I couldn’t have been more captivated and moved by BEAUTIFUL FOOLS.

Based on meticulous research, Spargo’s characterization of Zelda and Scott is precise and human. He captures the Fitzgeralds’ admirable devotion to each other, while demonstrating how very broken and ill-equipped the two of them were at handling life. Even in the midst of chaos, the presentation of the Fitzgeralds is tender, complete, and a rendering by which the subjects themselves would, no doubt, be humbled.

At one point in the novel, Zelda expresses the following wish:

“In her sleep she had suffered a vision of how she might be seen–how literary men and biographers would talk about her. She knew what Ernest said about her already, even to common friends such as Gerald and Sara…She wanted to be remembered for the things she had done for him, for the joy he obtained simply from being in love with her. She was special, she wasn’t like other people, he was lucky to have known her.”

BEAUTIFUL FOOLS fulfills this wish in scope, honesty, and reverence, and Spargo is a master craftsman. I give this novel my highest recommendation.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: BEAUTIFUL FOOLS: THE LAST AFFAIR OF ZELDA AND SCOTT FITZGERALD

  1. lomaurice says:

    I am so glad you read this book. And that you loved it. It is my next read:)

  2. erikarobuck says:

    I hope you enjoy it, Jean! Do let me know…

  3. Jen Erickson says:

    This looks fantastic. I hope you are well. 🙂 Your books are on my “to read” list next. I have been waiting for summer so I could savor, and after visiting Hemingway’s home in Key West, I am ready!

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