11 Love Lessons From the Real Gatsby and His Golden Girl
Should You Take Relationship Advice from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald?
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The antics of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are the stuff of lore, shaped in our collective memory as much by myth as by the sometimes stranger-than-fictional facts of their marriage. The story of Scott's winning and losing and then winning again the hand of his beloved, their early decadent Jazz Age days, the tempestuous nature of their love affair—all inform Fitzgerald's great classic, The Great Gatsby, which is getting a reboot and update this week as Baz Luhrmann brings it to the silver screen. As the orgy of the 1920s came to a crashing halt, the couple paid an extravagant price for youthful follies. Zelda succumbed to three mental breakdowns, diagnosed with schizophrenia, only to live out most of the Great Depression in sanitariums, while Scott fought off alcoholism, depression, and the nagging belief that he had failed his Zelda. Through it all they quarreled and made up; they lived apart, then together, repeatedly experimenting with permanent reunion. In my new novel, Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, I depict Zelda and Scott on a final vacation to Cuba, in April of 1939, taking one last chance on each another. I'm not recommending the novel or the real-life history of the Fitzgeralds' marriage as a guidebook to sound and healthy living. Nevertheless, such great passion—with all its itinerant risks, for all its beauty and foolishness—can still teach lovers of today a few things.
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