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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Great 20th Century Writer

On May 26 in 1920, a 23-year-old unknown author named F. Scott Fitzgerald published his debut novel, This Side of Paradise, to wide acclaim.This Side of Paradise is a love story inspired by Fitzgerald’s romance with Zelda Sayre . The summer before the book’s publication, Zelda had broken up with him. Fitzgerald returned to his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, hoping that writing a successful novel would win her back. He transformed an older unpublished book from his desk, The Romantic Egotist, into This Side of Paradise. 

 The book’s protagonist, Amory Blaine, enrolls in Princeton as a Midwest native, engages in a failed relationship with a wealthy young woman, joins the Army, and then returns to begin a relationship with a different debutante, much like Scott Fitzgerald himself. The novel was extraordinarily successful, selling out within three days of its first print.

 Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald were married in New York a week after the book’s publication.

Garrison Keillor’s/Writers Almanac, May, 2017

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