This is very much a biography of F Scott Fitzgerald the writer, rather than F Scott Fitzgerald the husband, or drunk, or party animal. It is full of fascinating details on how he conceived, planned and composed his work, as well as on the more practical side of his writing life, like his relationship with his publisher, Max Perkins, and agent, Harold Ober, his contracts with publishers and Hollywood studios, earnings and so on.
This is a good thing. In hearing so much about what Fizgerald is infamous for, one can overlook the fact that, when he actually got around to working, he was a resourceful, meticulous and highly disciplined professional writer. This book brings that out very well. It's touching, in fact, to see to what pains he went in even the most trivial magazine stories that he had to churn out to keep and Zelda and him in the style of life they required. It's sad as well, of course, because you start to wonder how many Gatsbys he might have written if he had not had to write those stories. But even here the book has something to surprise us, as it shows clearly that he could never have lived on his masterpieces anyway. In 1929, for example, he was earning $4,000 a story but his income from all his novels was something less than $1000 in that year.
Unlike many other "definitive" biographies, this book is never too dry, long or detailed. Bruccoli's style is lucid and relaxed but always serious. His tone is pitch perfect, as he modulates between glowing admiration for the author and sorrowful concern for the man - the latter, however, with not a hint of prudish indignation or condescension in it.
It is a complete delight from start to finish.