Review: Call Me Zelda
With her marriage to well known author Scott, Zelda Fitzgerald seemed to be living a dream life. She and Scott lived extravagantly in the US and Europe and socialized with the rich and famous. They seemed to be madly in love and the public was fascinated with them. Then, in 1932, Zelda was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore and Scott was wondering how he was going to afford her care.
Anna Howard was the nurse assigned to care for Zelda. After the deaths of her husband and child, Anna was wounded herself, so she had a lot of empathy for Zelda, and the two formed a wonderful relationship that eventually blossomed into a friendship. They remained in touch throughout the rest of Zelda’s tumultuous life.
Call Me Zelda, by Erika Robuck, is Zelda’s story told through the eyes of Anna. Because of that, the story is as much about Anna as it is about Zelda. Zelda was an enigmatic person, even for those who knew her and her story is full of highs and lows. Her contacts with Anna provide a peek into her psyche but she was difficult to know since hers was a troubled mind.
Anna was a terrific character to tell Zelda’s story. I’m not sure that I fully understood why she felt such a strong connection with Zelda but it was obvious she cared for her deeply. Her own life was troubled at times so she could relate to some of Zelda’s feelings.
I enjoyed Call Me Zelda and thought Robuck’s writing and storytelling were solid – I’d like to read more of her work now. I appreciated that she didn’t demonize Scott Fitzgerald as many want to do these days. He had issues of his own, and was far from perfect, but seemed to try his best. If you enjoy historical fiction or are interested in Zelda Fitzgerald, you’ll want to pick this book up!