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A Short Autobiography

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  267 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A self-portrait of a great writer. A Short Autobiography charts Fitzgerald's progression from exuberant and cocky with "What I think and Feel at 25", to mature and reflective with "One Hundred False Starts" and "The Death of My Father." Compiled and edited by Professor James West, this revealing collection of personal essays and articles reveals ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Scribner
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A collection of pieces that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote for various publications that the editor James L. W. West put together showing his memoir writing. What's fascinating to me was that Fitzgerald was extremely famous at the time of these articles - so he conveys himself as a character that the public already knows about. In a sense he's a performer in his own writing.

Some pieces are better then others but still all of them are interesting. All you get is really a snapshot but filtered through
Sierra Sitzes
I picked up my copy of this book at the infamous Shakespeare and Company in Paris this summer. I figured, being at one of the Lost Generation's creative epicenters, I might as well buy a book about the writers rather than the novels themselves. (Plus, I own most of Fitzgerald's work anyway.) I expected to gain a better understanding of Fitzgerald, his generation, and the thought behind his writing. I did not expect the impact this collection of essays would have on my own awareness as a writer. ...more
Mostly worthless.

A bit of a Fitzgerald yard sale, this loosely thematic collection gathers together 19 ostensibly autobiographical pieces. I say "loosely" because most were written for a quick buck when FSF needed to pay the bills, so that the lion's share of the pieces ("essays" is too lofty a term for these sketches) read like throwaway of-the-moment glosses on, say, modern "girls" (tellingly not "women"). Thick with name checks and given to a self-indulgently chatty tone that has worn very b
This book consisted of several short stories and essays which Fitzgerald had written during his career. Every piece was unique and provided insight into some aspect of Fitzgerald's character. All I can say is, he was an extremely hilarious and talented man!
Many of the essays in here have been included in other works, so they are not exactly new, but it was fun to read them all together. They seem to be arranged chronologically so it was also nice to watch the writing style change over Fitzgerald's career.
Tim Meneely
Kind of like hearing from an old acquaintance who you didn't realize you've missed: nothing revelatory, nothing salacious, just pleasant.
Wendy S.
"What I Think and Feel at 25" is my personal favorite.
My favorites were "What I Think and Feel at 25," and "One Hundred False Starts."

"...I might as well declare that the chief thing I've learned so far is: If you don't know much--well, nobody else knows much more. And nobody knows half as much about your own interests as you know.
If you believe in anything very strongly--including yourself--and if you go after that thing alone, you end up in jail, in heaven, in the headlines, or in the largest house on the block, according to what you started aft
Erika Dreifus
“At the time of his death, Fitzgerald [1896-1940] had not published an autobiographical work of any sort – something almost unimaginable in today’s climate. Now James L.W. West III, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, has gathered 19 personal essays written from 1920 to 1940 and arranged them chronologically to disclose Fitzgerald’s life story. From ‘What I Think and Feel at 25′ to ‘One Hundred False Starts,’ these essays would seem to serve as an intellectua ...more
Fitzgerald is a tough one to critically review: I feel like his books shimmer on my shelf, full of art deco design and illegal liquor and cigarette holders. There's an allure there that you want to live inside, even when there's also shallowness, pettiness, and depression. That said, I'm quite immune when there's this little to draw you in. I agree with those who say there are some later gems and some moments of brilliance in the earlier works, but I really don't think these even remotely compar ...more
Christine Rebbert
A collection of essays in an autobiographical vein, written during the years he was between 20 and 40. My favorite ones were "How to Live on $36,000 A Year" followed by "How to Live on Practically Nothing a Year"; in the one, he's amazed to find they spent that much in one year, but trying to economize -- primarily by moving to Europe, where he's told one can live on next to nothing -- doesn't really pan out either. Some have not "aged" well. Some pieces were first published in popular mainstrea ...more
Not really a biography so much as insight into Fitzgerald's way of thinking.I enjoyed the humorous essays much more than some of the others that spoke to his general disillusionment. He peppered his writing with a lot of references to popular figures of his time that I did not know - I'm glad his novels refrain from this, for the most part. Since most of these pieces were written for magazines, the pop culture was most likely appropriate.

Still, it's not really a biography. You can only make gues
Matt Thomas
This is a collection of Fitzgerald's articles published in the Saturday Evening Post, and other popular magazines of the roaring '20s. Each one provides some insight into the famous author, characterizing him as egomaniacal, brilliant, and hopelessly selfish. It contradicted the portrait I had formed of Fitzgerald after reading The Great Gatsby so many times. I was hoping for introspective; courageous; caring; someone able to grow beyond a narcissistic self-image constructed at the age of 12. I ...more
I really enjoyed this compilation of essays by Fitz. I admit that I have a bit of a crush on him, because he was a very witty and clever man, who happened to look good, too. I found some of his takes on the role of women as mothers and how to parent to be very interesting, albeit aloof and a cynical. I also enjoyed reading about how difficult it was for him to write.

The only flaw was that there wasn't much about Zelda.

I wouldn't call this an autobiography but the book does give some good insigh
So this one's complicated because it claims to be an autobiography, but is really a collection put together of his essays and such because Fitzy never wrote an autobiography (his publisher wouldn't accept it - stupid). So there were some that were very intriguing and enjoyable to read; others, I couldn't really connect to the content or what he was saying. Regardless, did give me some insight into this great writer.
This is a fun little book for a Fitzgerald fan (like me), but not as advertised: for true autobiography, try "The Crack-Up" or the many wonderful collections of Scott's correspondence (especially "The Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald," which I believe is out of print). This collection is, for the most part, glib magazine work -- clever and well-written, but a far cry from autobiography.
I've spent a lot of years reading literature and classics and there is a near, slight embarrassment when I admit that I've never read anything by F. Scott. Additionally, all I know of the man is from what I have read about his contemporaries when they are all lumped together in a discussion.
Personally, I enjoy the idea of reading about the man before I read his work.
This collection was put together by my favorite English professor, so I'm a bit biased. That being said, if you're already a Fitzgerald fan, you'll love a behind the scenes look into his writing and state of mind. If you aren't yet a Fitzgerald fan, these wise, unflinching, and still timely essays will most likely inspire you to seek out his work.
Diane Heath
This "autobiography" is actually a collection of essays/short stories from F Scott Fitzgerald. Knowing him only because of The Great Gatsby, I found some of the essays of interest and quite fun while others seemed a bit slow. His essays re: Living on $36,000 a Year and Living on Nothing were more autobiogtaphical in nature and fun to read.
Kevin Kizer
Didn't even know this was out until I saw Scott's doleful eyes staring out at me as I passed by in a bookstore. An interesting read for F. Scott devotees. Not a MUST read, but insightful as to F. Scott's state of mind as he passed from the brilliant energetic young novelist to the bitter 40-something would-be screenwriter.
Some essays were better than others, but overall I loved this book simply because I love Fitzgerald. He was clever and gifted with incredible insight, and didn't spare himself or his peers from his sharp analysis and criticisms. Fitzgerald also possessed an unmatched wit that shines through in his non-fiction essays.
Since I'm reading a lot about the Fitzgerald's these days, I found reading this to be easier than I thought. Some of the writings were over my head but overall I enjoyed it. Upon finishing, I found the annotations in the back that explained the pop culture and other references of that time.
I should preface this review by mentioning that I am madly in love with f. Scott Fitzgerald, so I may be a bit biased. I really enjoyed 90% of the essays. I will admit that a few of them were rather drab and beneath him but seeing as it is all we really have to go on in way of memoir, I'll take it.
I did not expect to review a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald with just one sad star because he is my favorite author. To sum up my experience, it was torture reading through his personal short stories. I only enjoyed about three of them. For the future, I would much rather read his novels.
a series of well-crafted autobiographical vignettes, mostly magazine pieces from the 20s and 30s; witty, self-deprecating, and even wistful and elegiac at times; reflections on his generation, and his infamous spending habits.
It was good - some of the articles went on and on about people and I places I cared nothing for while others were deeply philosophical and I could partially agree with. Worth the read really.
Often hilarious, always beautiful and heartbreaking. Fitzgerald's essays on writing and writing for a living are must-reads.

I just want to give him a really big hug, you know?
Kristine Kucera
It was ok. I liked the biographical narratives the best. Didn't care as much for the observations and lectures. Really liked the style of writing and choice of words though...
Mostly disappointing and dated magazine articles Fitzgerald wrote over the years.
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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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The Great Gatsby Tender Is the Night This Side of Paradise The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Beautiful and Damned

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“I want to be able to do anything with words: handle slashing, flaming descriptions like Wells, and use the paradox with the clarity of Samuel Butler, the breadth of Bernard Shaw and the wit of Oscar Wilde, I want to do the wide sultry heavens of Conrad, the rolled-gold sundowns and crazy-quilt skies of Hitchens and Kipling as well as the pastel dawns and twilights of Chesterton. All that is by way of example. As a matter of fact I am a professed literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer in my generation.” 2 likes
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