Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Women

I've been reading, a lot!  Too blooming hot to do much else, and though I usually read fiction I occasionally dip into nonfiction, and my genre of choice there is biography.  So recently I've read two biographies of two VERY different women----Pattie Boyd and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Pattie is of course known for having wed George Harrison of the Beatles and Eric Clapton, while Zelda was married to the author F. Scott Fitzgerald.  So both were known for marrying famous men, but that's where any similarites end.
After reading Wonderful Tonight I'm here to tell you that Pattie Boyd is the shallowest, most vacuous women I've ever had the misfortune to read about.  How two of the finest love songs of the rock era (George Harrison's Something and Eric Clapton's Layla) could have been written about her I'll never understand.  Her poor little me story is just so dull, dull, dull.  After reading it all I know about her is that she liked to party, to shop and everyone eventually left her,  how sad.
Zelda on the other hand was so interesting!  Before I read the 1970 book Zelda  by Nancy  Milford ( it's considered the definitive biography of Zelda) all I knew about her was that she was married to F. Scott Fitzgerald and that she was crazy.  But now I know what an interesting woman she was in her own right, that her husband used huge chunks of her love letters to him and their conversations and arguments  in his novels. Zelda was in fact the lead female character in all his books and stories.   She was not a passive woman, she wrote a novel of her own (which Scott made her edit because he said she was stealing his story and all his stories were about them, but he said they belonged to him and not her) , painted and danced ballet in an attempt to develop an identity separate from Scott.
Was she crazy, ( to me she sounded bipolar) perhaps, though newer medications would have helped her.
Did you make F. Scott Fitzgerald a drunk (as Hemingway believed--he hated her), did he drive her insane as her family believed?  Their daughter Scottie didn't think so, but that they did  indeed bring out the very
 worse in each other.
The book had many of her letters to Scott, chunks of her book and much of her other writing.
I felt so sorry for her, she was utterly fascinating, in fact one of my next reads will be Z  by Therese Anne Fowler a fictionalized account of her life.
As for Pattie Boyd, it definitely wasn't a "wonderful" read.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this. Trying to recall if I'v read the bio, Zelda. I'll see if our [limited] library has it.
    [I once had a very batty Siamese cat whom I named 'Zelda.']


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