I was a big reader from a very young age. My mom has often said I was born with a book in my hand. I loved reading and that was why from a very early...moreI was a big reader from a very young age. My mom has often said I was born with a book in my hand. I loved reading and that was why from a very early age I knew I was going to be an English major and be an English teacher, but it wasn't until I discovered Hemingway that my passion for literature was ignited.
I remember the day in the library at Century College (the Lakewood Community College) as I combed the stacks looking for something "new" to read. I had gotten little glimpses of Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck and all the rest in excerpts read in different classes, but I wanted to know more about these authors - I wanted to read more. As I walked through the stacks, I came across Hemingway. I picked up For Whom the Bell Tolls and selected that one. I liked it fine, so I went back for more. In quick succession I read many of his books, coming across Moveable Feast and Garden of Eden - two books that went against the grain of everything else I had read, but made me fall in love with this man who I wasn't supposed to like cause he was "misogynistic" and everything else a Birkenstock-wearing, feminist should hate.
Here comes this book told from Hadley's perspective of their life together. I loved it (4.5 stars, really). While I know it was fiction, McLain did a fantastic job of pulling from her sources to create these "characters" and to give us a peek into the love and turmoil Hadley and Papa went through.
I loved reading this and seeing pieces of Hemingway's own work being used to create the story. Is the love-triangle in Garden of Edenreally a representation of the triangle of Hem-Hadley-Pauline? There is speculation, and McLain went with that speculation and created a story of friendship love and loss.
Yes. There were points that made me roll my eyes a little bit and say "no way!" but that is OK. Overall, it was a lovely look. As I said in a comment below, Hemingway is a real life mythological person. We can read his books, we can read his letters (by the way, I have his book of letters -Selected Letters 1917-1961- and there are NONE between him and Hadley in there) but there is always going to be this fog when it comes to our understanding of Hemingway and the people in his life.
And so, we have McLain, who attempts to create a story and I believe she did a fine job of it.(less)