A very short, incomplete diary in which ardent devotees of the novelist might find a glimmer or two of significance.
By the standards of even what the editor’s introduction terms “juvenilia,” this diary or memoir or notes on girls by the 14-year-old “Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald of St Paul Minn U.S.A.” is barely marginalia from a boyhood that had yet to turn literary. Though the afterword argues for literary significance in the dialogue, lists and some of the characters, readers will strain to unearth a glimmer of the fiction that would later flower in the tone of the manuscript (considerably shorter than the framing essays, even after padding with period photos). The book deals almost exclusively with what concerns most 14-year-old boys: girls—where he stands with them and they with him. Missing its first seven pages, the “Thoughtbook” has plenty of rankings of who likes whom and why. Early on, the boy writes, “I was more popular with girls than I have ever been befor” [sic—spelling is not his strong suit]. A few months later, “I have two new crushes, to wit—Margaret Armstrong and Marie Hersey. I have not decided which one I like the best. The 2nd is the prettiest. The 1st is the best talker.” Talk prevailed, as two weeks later he gushes, “I am just crazy about Margaret Armstrong and I have the most awful crush on her that ever was.” Elsewhere, Fitzgerald writes of being third in a girl’s ranking of affections but working his way toward first. Such rankings changed as often as the weather, and this “Thoughtbook” is like the weather report of budding romance.
Scholars could make use of this material, but it should otherwise interest only Fitzgerald completists.