Scott Fitzgerald, a romantic and tragic figure who embodied the decades between the two world wars, was a writer who took his material almost entirely from his life. Despite his early success with The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald battled against failure and disappointment.
This book, by the acclaimed biographer of Hemingway, is the first to analyze frankly the meaning as well as the events of Fitzgerald's life and to illuminate the recurrent patterns that reveal his inner self. Meyers emphasizes Fitzgerald's alcoholism, Zelda's illnesses and her doctors, Fitzgerald's love affairs both before and after her breakdown, and his wide-ranging friendships, from the polo star Tommy Hitchcock to the Hollywood executive Irving Thalberg. His writer friends included Ring Lardner, John Dos Passos, James Joyce, Edith Wharton, and Dorothy Parker. His friend and lifelong hero, Ernest Hemingway, was a harsh critic of both his behavior and his novels, but Fitzgerald accepted this with remarkable humility. Meyers portrays the volatile connection between these two writers and Fitzgerald's marriage to the schizophrenic Zelda with insight and poignancy. Meyers also discusses Fitzgerald's fascinating relationship with his daughter, Scottie. Exercising a fine critical balance, he details Fitzgerald's weaknesses but ultimately reveals a man capable of fierce loyalty and great moral courage.