Sunday 21 October 2018

#BookReview Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow @sallykoslow @HarperCollins

Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author of the acclaimed international bestseller The Late, Lamented Molly Marx imaginatively brings to life the shocking affair of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his longtime lover, Sheilah Graham, in this dazzling novel of romance, celebrity, and Gatsby-esque self-creation in 1930s Hollywood

In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career is slowly drowning in booze. But the once-famous author, desperate to make money penning scripts for the silver screen, is charismatic enough to attract the gorgeous Miss Graham, a woman who exposes the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Like Scott’s hero Jay Gatsby, Graham has meticulously constructed a life far removed from the poverty of her childhood in London’s slums. And like Gatsby, the onetime guttersnipe learned early how to use her charms to become a hardworking success feted and feared by both the movie studios and their luminaries.

A notorious drunk famously married to the doomed “crazy Zelda,” Fitzgerald fell hard for his “Shielah” (he never learned to spell her name), a shrewd yet soft-hearted woman—both a fool for love and nobody’s fool—who would stay with him and help revive his career until his tragic death three years later. Working from diaries and other primary sources from the time, Sally Koslow revisits their scandalous love affair, bringing Graham and Scott gloriously alive in this compelling page-turner saturated with the color, glitter, magic, and passion of 1930s Hollywood and Sheilah’s dramatic transformation in London.


I just knew I needed to read this book when I saw it and I was lucky to get the chance to listen to the audiobook. I watched a movie about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham years ago with Gregory Peck in the title role. Can't remember much about it, but I was thrilled to get to read a book about the couple.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is forever linked with his wife Zelda, but the last years of his life were he involved with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham. It was not an easy romance, especially for Sheilah who discovered that Scott was a very nice man, as long as he did not drink. But, now and then he would go on a bender and he turned into a very nasty version of himself. I had before I read this book just finished a book about Ernest Hemingway and I can tell you. They may be great writers, but they were hell to live with.

As for the book, it's marvelous, read it or listen to it. I enjoyed it immensely and I loved getting to know more about Sheilah Graham, how she pretty much invented herself. And who doesn't love an epic love story?

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