And whom did we see in New York?
Well, there was F. Scott Fitzgerald, for one. A fine, engaging personality, as likely a lad as you would care to meet. Fitzgerald wrote “This Side of Paradise” out of the heart of life wilthout an eye either to success or sales—when both came they amazed him. Here was a book sincere, straightforward and yet bizarre—a book that ran counter to the Broadway formula and yet was a success! Therein we have found food for thought and substance for congratulation! a lot of old fudduddies fell on it and picked it to pieces, failing, as always, to see the jewel within. We have great hopes for Fitzgerald. His second book. “Flappers and Philosophers,” contains, as we surmised, a good many stories written when he was in college: consequently it need not be compared seriously with his first published volume. When his success came magazine editors began to camp on his doorstep In droves and wave greenbacks in his face. He gratified them with short stories, but all the time he has been working on a novel. The plot as he outlined it to us is both original and of great artistic merit. It makes no compromises with convention or taste. Chicago has been extremely loyal to Fitzgerald. Here he has gained his largest reading pubic. He is interested in all of us—he remembers friends of other days and wonders whether they remember him. “Somebody intimated that I had made a Chicago girl the heroine of ‘This Side of Paradise,'” he said. 'Did you ever hear that? Well, it isn't true. Wonder what the girl thinks of it,” he added naively. “I want to do big work—I am sure I can. But I have never had wide experience, you know; never worked on a newspaper, never saw all sides of life. That's my handicap.” And yet at 23 lack of experience is not fatal—there are years ahead. Come away from Broadway. Scott. Come out to the hinterland. It's your country—you know it, and here are “the great epic themes.” You have Broadway at your feet now—come before you have joined its gallery of mediocrities.
Published in Chicago Daily News newspaper (27 October 1920).