Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are a Hemingway fan you will likely gobble this up. Flamboyantly handsome, egotistical, selfish, yet brilliant, he really was not a nice man and I did not care for him as a person; but he is considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century with good reason. This novel is about his first wife(he had four), Hadley Richardson, and their years together. It resonated with me because in so many ways it reminded me of my 34 year marriage to Dave. It is also about the "Lost Generation" of 1920's Paris.

H. was one of the authors I studied in H.S. honors English and I had just completed my college freshman year and was preparing for my wedding when I was shocked to learn he had committed suicide. Shortly before this he wrote a letter of apology to Hadley, telling her that he "would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but" her. That letter was included in The Moveable Feast, was removed from a 2nd publication by a son from his 2nd wife, but is once again included in a recent publication.

The book moved me, and I shed a few tears when it was over, then I spent a few hours googling everything I could think related to Hemingway and Hadley. Paula McLain did extensive research before writing this poignantly absorbing story. When a book stays with the reader at its conclusion and drives her/him to the internet the author deserves kudos.

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