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Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
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Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  831 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Through his alcoholism and her mental illness, his career highs (and lows) and her institutional confinement, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's devotion to each other endured for more than twenty-two years. This book presents a collection of correspondence between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Susan
I have long loved F. Scott Fitzgerald. In my opinion, he may have been the greatest American author of the 20th century, as far as his prose is concerned. I never really admired his subject matter, however. It seemed self absorbed, and rather menial to me. I became fascinated with Fitzgerald, the person, when I was in college, when I read his letters, full of that same self absorption but infused with passion. Reading this rather new collection of letters, for me, was just a continuation of my s ...more
Kirk
Dec 07, 2007 Kirk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Scott and Zelda fanatics
This is the essential letters collection for the Fitzgerald's marriage. It is also provides the most balanced biography of the couple you will find. It neither portrays Zelda as a ditz (as Mizener and Turnbull did), nor does it try to redress the criticism (as Milford and other Zelda biographers do). Perhaps the most illuminating thing is how beautiful the correspondence was: always aware of how they mythologized themselves, S&Z knew they were writing for a future public, and their ornate, o ...more
Alyssa
If you haven't fallen in love with Zelda after reading this I'm not sure what you're doing with your life.
This was beautiful and haunting and easily one of the best things I've ever read.
Aubrey
This is a beautiful collection of letters, aided by helpful contextual notes from the editors. The book does a lot to challenge what I think has become an unfortunately pervasive misconception - that Scott drove Zelda to madness and belittled her creative talents. Through their own words to each other, rather than through the lenses of Hollywood & sensationalism, you see a tragic pair, each struggling with their own demons but surviving (for as long as they can) through the continued support ...more
Rebecca
There is a blurb from Independent on Sunday on the back of my copy which sums up this book quite well: "Scott and Zelda's letters make it clear that both of them knew they had wasted their youth, beauty and early success. And both of them understood that they were bound together". They really do, the letters.

There is one bulk of letters from before the marriage of this famous couple, but the great bulk is from after Zelda's breakdown in 1930 when the couple for long periods were not living toget
...more
Tawni
There are many misconceptions about the relationship between Scott and Zelda and this book should lay them to rest.

It shows that throughout their relationship the deep underlying constant tone is love, compassion and support for each other. The letters let you watch them grow as people and as a couple through their constant struggles.

Reading them is a very intimate experience and I would suggest doing so without distractions as if they were sent to you personally. They are absolutely beautiful
...more
rachael gibson
As a lifelong fan of Fitzgerald, flappers and the 1920s in general, I've read pretty much everything Scott and Zelda wrote and am really interested in their personal history too.

I thought this book was fantastic; really well edited and well interspersed with biographical notes. Of course we all know the tragic Fitzgerald story but reading it from the inside, as it were, sheds a completely different light on things and forces you to rethink opinions on these two tragic characters who lived so pub
...more
Anne
Great collection of letters. I've been a big Scott and Zelda fan since high school, and though I'd read their biographies and novels/stories, I'd never before read their letters. I'm so glad I did. Their letters made them come fully to life, and I feel like I have a better understanding of who they were as mere mortals. Most of the letters come from Zelda, and trace her transformation from a coy debutante to a mature, reflective woman struggling with mental illness and lack of freedom and mobili ...more
Sarah
I'm a huge F.Scott fan, but after reading this book, I am equally a Zelda follower as well. In fact, reading through these letters, I came to find that I didn't like F.Scott the man so much, the writer, yes, the man, no. Zelda had an enormous influence over Fitzgerald and served not only as his muse, but his editor, creative director and support group all in one. Her story is a tragic one and a lot of his letters didn't survive, so the perspective of this book can be a bit skewed. Zelda was a be ...more
Flurry
this is so terribly poignant it made me tear up in the train. The letters chart the very beginning of their courtship when Zelda was 18, full of youth and optimism, right to the end when their lives fell apart and they struggled to survive. Yet, the overflowing love from their letters portray a couple whose affections did survive their hardships. It's just so tragic that their lives were short though immensely explosive and influential. The end that describes Zelda's death, their combined graves ...more
Jess
I loved this. It was informative, endearing and ultimately heartbreaking. I am truly fascinated with the correspondences that occurred before phones were in every home or a cellphone in every pocket. It amazed me how through it all, Scott never stopped financially taking care of Zelda. I realize that they never formally ended their marriage but still, he did so much for her, even when they were apart for so long. You could see in some of Zelda's letters how her illness was changing her but I cou ...more
Barbara
I thought this was a very illlumating read. It is primarily only the letters of Scott and Zelda to each other, with some commentary and context thrown in by the authors. They had a sincere, loving, and evolving relationship. The romance of their youth turned into the mature reflection and support of parents as they aged. Their lives are so tragic and poignant. I enjoyed learning more about them in their own words, especially. Many more of the letters in the book were Zelda's than Scott's and she ...more
Kelsey
This is a must have for fans of Scott and/or Zelda Fitzgerald. Their letters begin during their courting, and last all the way to the bitter end, where their marriage had essentially fallen apart, but they still had a sense of love for each other. Like their books, their letters were beautifully written and intense, and the readers can see the love they both held for one another. They were consumed by it. As an outsider looking in, it's almost like you feel you're invading their personal and pri ...more
Rebecca Dunbar
What a fantastic collection of letters. Mainly Zelda's, they provide a fascinating insight into the much-mythologised Fitzgerald marriage.
Danielle
So amazingly witty and tragic. Loved every page.
Sarah
Ugh these guys break my heart.
Frances
Read in one day!!!!! Loved it:)
Travis L.
Perhaps it was the era that these letters were written that made reading these a chore; or perhaps it's just that personal letters between two people aren't always exciting. Either way, I struggled through this book; even pausing at one point to read "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" before moving forward. Zelda's letters were sometimes completely over-the-top, describing things in terms that just made absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps in the 20s everything would have made sense and I am just mispl ...more
Sean Endress
What I love about a well-written autobiography is that it takes someone larger-than-life and turns them into a real, accessible person, that you feel like you get to know. Obviously, this is no autobiography, not really, but it causes the same effect. These were real people, who laughed and cried, who reached incredible heights, only to fall from them.

But they are real, and they are beautiful. Anyone who has ever been in love will recognize their own heart in these pages, their own story. Genuin
...more
Samantha Lazar
I am reading The Great Gatsby right now with my juniors, and before we read, we watched a video about Fitzgerald's life. The movie was old and a little out-of-date, so my students did not seem very interested. However, I found this book, and it is about Fitzgerald's life. The book contains letters that Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda wrote to one another throughout the course of their lives.

I have to say that this was much more exciting than the movie! The letters were so captivating and it showed
...more
Christina ~
I'm hopeful to add to this a bit later...for now, there is no other possible way to fully understand the intricacies of Scott and Zelda's infamous marriage, than to read it from their own words. She, sadly hardly mentioned for her talent, was an absolutely brilliant writer.

If you are interested in the Fitzgerald's and want an inside peek, I would highly encourage you to read this book seamlessly put together with an introduction by their granddaughter and important narrative written to explain
...more
Zach
Similar to other reviewers many of the letters are interesting and so well written to be poetic. However, there are so many letters and often the exchanges are one sided (or at least F. S. Fitzgerald's responses are not included in the book). Arguably some of the most interesting parts of the book are where the editor/author has provided detailed description of F. Scott/Zelda's life/history, this provided not only context for the letters but also background about their lives.

Someone with a bett
...more
Heather
Sep 18, 2007 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantics
Heard about the party life style F. Scott and Zelda were leading during the twenties and want to find out more? This isn't the book. This is the next installment, where Zelda goes to a series of nuthouses and F. Scott becomes a self-destructive alcoholic. But their devotion and letters to each other are hauntingly romantic.
This also gives a great back-story for understanding where Fitzgerald's stories came from.
I'd also suggest reading this in conjunction with Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast," in
...more
Tracy O
Debbie and I just talked about this book last night. I've already read pieces of some of these letters in other biographies, and while the first part is wildly romantic (and, beautifully, inventively written - I wish I could write ONE letter so well), there are oceans of letters that are as depressing as all get out after the first, giddy, wild successful years of their marriage and their lives unraveled into real sadness, drunkeness, infidelity, etc. Not everything has to be happy, but this is ...more
carl  theaker


From the days when you wrote a letter like the world was going to
read it and when you kept every letter someone sent you as if you were
going to be famous. Ok these are from later in their lives when they
were at least celebrities of their era, which had already passed.

Does make you wonder if there will be such collections in the
future, 'The Collected Emails of Scott, with a special addition of
newly found Tweets of Zelda'.
Angie Fehl
Definitely provides a new perspective to one incredibly famous couple. Also provides insight into Scott's writing process and Zelda's battle with mental illness. Its funny to see that even in letters they had their up and down periods where they were either madly in love or going through that "Why the hell did I marry you?" phase lol. Even more amazing that they only spent 10 years of their marriage consistently together!
Charlotte
Heartbreaking yet beautiful.
Nicole Javvaji
Jul 25, 2008 Nicole Javvaji rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald, romantics
Recommended to Nicole by: Barnes and Noble
Shelves: memoirs
So much can be learned from reading the private letters of these two talented writers. The collection of letters begins during courtship, continues through their rocky marriage and the sad decline of Scott into alcoholism and Zelda into mental collapse. The letters are full of emotion, people just don't write like this anymore! I feel like I really got to know both Fitzgeralds through this book.
Christen
It is hard to rate a series of letters that are more or less one sided because Scott kept everything and Zelda's letters from Scott were burned. It is heartbreaking to read them, while at the same time it is proof that they did care for each other until Scott's untimely death. Moments of literary brilliance, moments of tears and moments of the ordinary moments from two extraordinary people.
Susan
Obviously a very personal insight into the lives of F Scott & Zelda. More of her letters to him have survived making this an slightly one sided story, despite the author's summary.
Would recommend reading this book after their individual biographies
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled "Lost Generation," Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfini ...more
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“I love her, and that's the beginning and end of everything.” 424 likes
“I wish we could spend July by the sea, browning ourselves and feeling water-weighted hair flow behind us from a dive. I wish our gravest concerns were the summer gnats. I wish we were hungry for hot dogs and dopes, and it would be nice to smell the starch of summer linens and the faint odor of talc in blistering summer bath houses ... We could lie in long citoneuse beams of the five o'clock sun on the plage at Juan-les-Pins and hear the sound of the drum and piano being scooped out to sea by the waves.” 102 likes
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