Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Lost City: Personal Essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Well, this book certainly took me long enough to finish. It wasn't boring, dense, or difficult; it just needed to be taken slowly, for me at least.

This book offered a nicely wide range of varieties of essays from dear Fitzgerald. Some were hilarious, some were a little more musing, but all of them gave the sense that Fitzgerald didn't take himself too seriously. That's really a great quality in a writer, in my opinion. So many of the great writers seemed to believe that, since they had great success, they now know All There Is To Know About Writing And Life. Fitzgerald definitely didn't come across that way; he made fun of himself in several essays. "How to Live on $36,000 a Year" was a funny one.

There were a few essays that I considered snooze-worthy, but in most cases it was just because I knew very little about the subject of the essay ("Princeton" is a prime example). There were a few interesting essays about his time period and his generation, which was also what Fitzgerald was so great at portraying in his fiction, but the ones that I loved the most were about himself.

Fitzgerald has such a great sarcasm, which is a quality I always love in a writer. I wish I could own this book, so that I could read an essay here and there, rather than trying to read through it like a novel (it was definitely a similar experience to what I had with his On Writing). But alas, it's a library book and I didn't have much other choice.

One little detail I loved about the book was that it had pictures of the original typewritten manuscripts, complete with Fitzgerald's handwritten edits, in the back of the book. I love how ruthless he was with his own writing, cutting out whole paragraphs, making edits to at least every other sentence. It's definitely something I'm still learning with my own writing.


  1. WOW! I really want to read this. And the library doesn't have it. And on Amazon it's selling for... $111!!!! So phooey, won't be reading it any time soon :-( But it sounds wonderful!

    1. Is it really?! I guess that means I won't be owning it anytime soon, then, either. If only Fitzgerald had published the book of essays that he wanted to during his life (which was why someone had the idea to compile them in the first place--because Fitzgerald tried to) then it would probably be easier to get hold of. Darn those publishers!