aPriL purrs 'n hisses's Reviews > The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
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I didn't like the book much because it was slow and uninteresting. Yes, it was realistic, so real it was like reading an actual diary of an ordinary small-town, stay-at-home mother of toddlers writing about her days wiping babies' noses. Although she met famous people, the descriptions made it appear as interesting as a dull backyard barbecue with tired suburbanites after work. There were interesting bits, but Hadley got bored, so she was boring in talking about it. What bored her? Being the wife of Ernest Hemingway in Paris! Partying with world-famous artists and writers! It all was a yawn for our Hadley. What did she like about Paris? Being with her babies. Doing housework.

Of course, the problem I have with this story is this first-person narrator, Hadley. If the author was going for a fictional persona that reflected the actual historical person, and if Hadley was this dull, earth-mother type, McLain succeeded wildly. If the conventional Mommy viewpoint was purely the author's fancy, well I haven't read anything else by McLain so perhaps I stumbled accidentally into reading a Romance genre she specializes in, and I'm not a Romance fan.

I got the impression from the comments by this fictionalized Ernest Hemingway in the book that he saw her as a mommy figure as well, although he never says it that way. Safe is what he said. Plus Hadley speaks of her thick figure often. The story locations were often in all the artistic spots in Europe, the friends were famous 1920's poets, painters, and writers, but instead this book was about being inside a marriage with Hemingway from meeting him to living in Paris written in an expunged diary style that Hadley seemed to expect will be read by the children. She was a good mom, I suppose, to Ernest too.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Gorfo (new)

Gorfo I can't even explain how much I love this review.


message 3: by Naomi (new)

Naomi excellent conclusion


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