Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Voice of the Jazz Age

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Voice of the Jazz Age

Caroline Evensen Lazo
For ages 12 and up
Lerner Publishing Group, 2003   ISBN: 978-0822500742

Frances Scott Fitzgerald was born into one of the well established families in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father not being a consistent provider, Scott's family lived off his mother's family money, and uncertain finances would plague Scott's parents almost continuously. This would have a profound effect on Scott, who would as an adult live in mortal fear of poverty.

Scott was an indifferent student, his only real successes being in his writing. When he was just a teenager he had his first story published and this event buoyed up his confidence in himself considerably. In 1913 Scott entered Princeton University where he coasted along in his studies, just getting by. Here too his writing was greatly admired and he became a part of the most popular clique. It was while he was at Princeton that Scott began to drink heavily and to get into the habit of going out carousing. Heavy drinking was something that he would struggle with for the rest of his life.

In 1917 Scott joined the army, and though he never went to the front (the war ended before he could do so,) the army did give Scott one very important opportunity. When he was serving in Camp Sheridan near Montgomery, Alabama, he met lovely Zelda Sayre and he fell in love with her.

After the armistice was declared Scott set about building a career for himself as a writer. It was an uphill battle because Scott was not one to pass over opportunities to have a good time. He was immensely attracted to the rich set and loved to spend time with them. On the other hand he despised their shallow lives and mostly meaningless pursuits. Both Scott and Zelda (whom he married in 1920) were constantly drawn to a life of excess. They could not resist it, and in the end the lifestyle had a fearful toll on them both. However the lifestyle and the people he met also gave Scott the material he needed for his books and he is now considered one of the greatest American writers of the Jazz Age.

In this book the author truly captures the feel of F. Scott Fitzgerald's time. She also finds a way to show her readers what F. Scott Fitzgerald was like as a person, not only describing his great writing skill but also revealing his faults and his struggles.