Monday, May 23, 2011

The Paris Wife: What Are Your Final Thoughts?

May is almost over, and that means we will be starting our June selection, The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel next week.  It's available in paperback for those on a budget, and you can probably get used copies, too.

I'll be posting some information about this book next week.  I can't wait to read it.

Anyway--back to The Paris Wife.  I finished it a few weeks ago, and I have to say I have mixed feelings about it.  The writing was beautiful, and I appreciated the short insights the reader had into Ernest's feelings; I think otherwise I would have been even more annoyed at him without them.

I can say I am firmly on Hadley's side.  I don't know how she lived with a man who was so obsessed with his writing--to the point that he would spend hours a day agonizing over a few sentences. I think they did love each other at the beginning, but Ernest seems to be the type to fall in and out of love easily.  I think he felt responsible for Hadley, but he knew she would pretty much go along with what he decided.

I was almost shouting at the novel when Hadley was trying to decide if she should stay with Ernest and Pauline in the wife-mistress-man scenario.  I looked at it from a woman's point of view in 2011; I don't know if I would have felt different in the 1920's.  I am so glad she found love again, with a good man.

Ernest was a very complex man, and I think he used the "artist" card to dismiss his behavior not only towards Hadley, but towards his friends.  What a bunch of damaged people!

What are your final thoughts on the book?  Are you glad you read it?  Are you interested in reading more about Ernest Hemingway?

I did do some googling, and found out he had two more sons with Pauline; cheated on her, and married two more times before his death.  John Hemingway, his son with Hadley, died in the 1990's and is the father of Margeaux and Mariel Hemingway.  Mariel's middle name is Hadley.

5 comments:

My Grama's Soul said...

I really enjoyed his read...altho....I like most things I pick up. I knew very little about Hemingway....and I really enjoyed learning more about Paris in the early 1900's. Good selection.

Jo

Jewels said...

I am not sorry that I read the book, I did enjoy it, but it definately annoyed the heck out of me. It was very difficult for me to remember the time difference from the 20's to today. I couldn't seperate my thoughts from those of Hadley and was livid at her for allowing Pauline to sew herself so securely into their lives.

Ernest was so incredibly selfish and I found myself so angry with him for his behavior. I have my own issues with men and fidelity and this just didn't sit well with me.

I also think that Hadley over romanticized his moody artistic nature at first and became a crutch, an enabler, and by the time she wanted to stop things it was just too late and too far gone. It's so sad really. I was happy to learn that she knew love, had a happy and settled life, but heartbroken over Ernest never really knowing a real love after her and dying essentially alone.

I'm excited for The Red Leather Diary! :)

once in a blue moon said...

i am still #44 on the waiting list for this book, maybe next year i can comment with confidence... i have not read this but i grew up knowing he was a cad and alcoholic so i don't imagine much with surprise me here.

ordered the next book, that i should have this week :)

L Harris said...

I am about half done the book. I am enjoying it. I wrote a little bit about it on my blog. http://www.justourthoughts.com/2011/05/paris-wife-b-y-paula-mclain.html

Just reading the little bit that's been shared here, there is still so much to come! I find myself detaching the book from the man, Hemingway, and just reading it as if it were any other novel. Maybe that's why it doesn't annoy me, like it did Jewels (see above comment).

So I'm glad we chose this book; it's not one I would have chosen on my own. :) I am not interested in reading more about Hemingway, nor am I interested in reading any of his books or stories. :)

I will probably blog about the book again when I'm finished with it. I will likely be starting the next one later in the month, as I don't have it yet.

ms. caboo said...

It sounds like everyone enjoyed or is enjoying the book. I am glad we picked it, because I would not have read it otherwise. Hadley was a very interesting woman, and I did enjoy reading about Paris before WW2. It makes me appreciate my honey even more! And I am intrigued by how marriage in the 1920's seems to have come full circle again in 2011. People don't seem to expect it to last.