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Book Discussions > "The Paris Wife/SPOILER!

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message 1: by Mary (Marbear), Founder (new)

Mary (Marbear) Blackburn (mbeth45) | 9188 comments Mod
This thread is for the people that have read the entire book. PLZ DO NOT READ PAST THIS POST IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE BOOK. Happy reading!

marbear


Teresa Lukey I loved this one, my review follows:

When I first heard of The Paris Wife I remember saying that it was not of interest to me, I'd never read anything by Ernest Hemingway so I didn't think I would have a connection to it. But I decided to take a chance after seeing so many positive comments on the book. As it turns out, I really enjoyed this story about Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's first wife .

The 20's sound like such an interesting time. The slang used, the partying, the lifestyle, the priorities, the fashion, it all intrigues me. I wish I could go back and enjoy the 20's for myself.

The story of Hadley's time with Ernest was beautiful, complicated and, ultimately, sad. As with many artists, Ernest was quirky, but Hadley was so tolerant and forgiving of his ways. I really enjoyed details of their time in Paris and Pamplona.

I did some research after completing this book and it is definitely a finely crafted story, built with facts from the couple's life together. It was really interesting to see how many other artists of the time were connected to one another, it makes me wonder who the equivalent is today.

This was definitely a love story, but not a sappy, warm, fuzzy one, but it reads much like a memoir. Sorry no happy ending here, but I am definitely interest in reading A Moveable Feast, Earnest's book on his first wife Hadley.


message 3: by Sarah (last edited Aug 01, 2011 07:15PM) (new)

Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 29 comments From another novelist's point of view, it's hard to write fiction from such a well-documented relationship. Hemingway's writings have been analyzed in such great detail with all the 'facts' of his wives and his philandering and his travels, but this book so deftly explored his war experiences and how that informed his writing habits and subjects. The state of women's rights and the liberties afforded 'writers' in those European communities was revealed in a very even-handed way, flaws as well as fables. The scene were Hemingway is angry at Hadley for talking when she wakes up because it means he loses his train of thought on a writing idea struck me as precisely right, since I often compose in that early waking state and any interruption can affect my 'musings.' Sad tale, but very realistic and a wonderfully detailed new perspective on the 'first' wife.


Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 29 comments Are there readers in the group who were surprised that he made promises he didn't keep? Were you surprised when she forgave him those betrayals? Do you think artists with talent should be given more leeway, to allow their creativity to blossom? I found this Hemingway to resemble Frank Lloyd Wright in the latest novel about him, Loving Frank. Anyone else?


Sera | 181 comments Sarah wrote: "Are there readers in the group who were surprised that he made promises he didn't keep? Were you surprised when she forgave him those betrayals? Do you think artists with talent should be given mor..."

Sarah, let me begin by saying that I don't like Hemingway, either as a writer or as a person, so I'm prejudiced in my view of him. With that being said, I'm not surprised that he made promises that he didn't keep, but yes, I was surprised that Hadley actually gave the trio a try. To me, Hadley really didn't fit in with the crowd because she was conservative, modest, pragmatic and traditional. So for her to allow Penny into their marriage really threw me for a loop, because it wasn't consistent with her character, until I realized that it actually was. Hadley had always done whatever Ernest wanted to make him happy and bringing Penny into the mix was another example of that, albeit an extreme one.


message 6: by Sera (last edited Aug 02, 2011 08:33AM) (new)

Sera | 181 comments I don't think that artists should live by a different set of rules than non-artists. However, I think that it's fine to be quiet in the morning so that the thoughts that a writer has are allowed to blossom :)

I haven't read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan yet, but I would like to after hearing so many good things about it. I've also requested A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway on audio from the library. I'm very interested in comparing that work to TPW.


Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 29 comments Everyone also says you should see Woody Allen's new movie about Paris Nights too, same writers' personalities, modern timeframe. I'm trying to find it a theatre now, may have missed it.


Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 29 comments I was shocked that the Ernest she loved asked her, but he was already going down that slippery slope after his earlier relationship in Italy. Hadley, like so many spouses, wanted to believe in the best part of her spouse, that he could be a loyal and supportive husband, but he was too self-centered, and too much into what felt good to him. Funny that he could have the future orientation about the writing and what hard work it took, but not see it was also necessary to a successful marriage relationship. His children must have had a tough time. Does anyone know of books about his children? Other than the biographies of him.


Connie (Connie_G) | 63 comments Sarah wrote: "Everyone also says you should see Woody Allen's new movie about Paris Nights too, same writers' personalities, modern timeframe. I'm trying to find it a theatre now, may have missed it."

"Midnight in Paris" transports you back to the 1920s in parts of the movie at the stroke of midnight. Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, etc. are included. I wish I had read The Paris Wife before seeing the movie.


Sera | 181 comments Sarah wrote: "I was shocked that the Ernest she loved asked her, but he was already going down that slippery slope after his earlier relationship in Italy. Hadley, like so many spouses, wanted to believe in the ..."

I sure don't, Sarah. I'm also curious to see whether any exist. What a great time to be alive in Paris! I thought that the Fitzgeralds were very interesting. I'm digging around for some reads on Scott, who was also a mess.

Do you think that artistic genius results in a mental imbalance in some other of the brain?


Sera | 181 comments Connie wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Everyone also says you should see Woody Allen's new movie about Paris Nights too, same writers' personalities, modern timeframe. I'm trying to find it a theatre now, may have missed i..."

I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but I would love to see this movie now. Hopefully, it's coming out on DVD soon.


Andrea (sunshinegirl23) | 26 comments Sarah wrote: "Are there readers in the group who were surprised that he made promises he didn't keep? Were you surprised when she forgave him those betrayals? Do you think artists with talent should be given mor..."

This story reminded me so much of "Loving Frank" too. The ways in which both women were so forgiving of their husbands, and the way in which they tried to allow their husbands' creativity to flow.

I wasn't surprised that Hemingway did not keep his promises. It was just his personality type. I wish Hadley hadn't forgiven him, but she did till it went too far.


Bernadette (Bern51) | 362 comments I'm not done with this book yet, but am really enjoying it. I didn't want to read it when I first heard about it, but GR friends raved about it...I need to see Paris


message 14: by Connie (last edited Aug 03, 2011 08:41PM) (new)

Connie (Connie_G) | 63 comments I remember reading The Sun Also Rises many years ago, and being fascinated by the running of the bulls at Pamplona (and feeling sorry for the bulls). But I never knew the characters were based upon his real aquaintances until I read The Paris Wife.
I could see why Hadley was initially attracted to Ernest Hemingway since he was so gifted, interesting, and extroverted. But when he hurts her over and over again--especially with wanting them to be a trio with Pauline--it showed her that the person Ernest really loves the most was himself.
I thought the author did an excellent job of making a very readable novel out of the lives of the Hemingways. The many other creative people interacting with them in Paris in the 1920s were very colorful and interesting too.


Karin | 109 comments I read this book last month with the Book Nook.
I liked the inside the book gave us about Hadley's and Hemingway's lives together. And the 1920s in Paris, the south of France, Spain and Switzerland were interesting and intriguing. The writing was good. Almost immediately you were drawn into the book. The author did an excellent job.


Judi/Judith Riddle (judipatooti) | 1311 comments I had mixed feelings about this novel (3 stars). This is my, probably unpopular, review. I especially disliked the running of the bulls and the bullfight scenes. My father made the whole family go to the bullfights in the El Paso area (maybe Mexico) when I was really young. He thought it was great fun and I was horrified and still am to this day. It's one thing to read about it and another to carry that atrocious memory around for life. Enough of that. Here is my review:

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemmingway met in Chicago, during The Jazz age (1920s) and fell in love, even though they were the most unlikely of candidates to make the marriage work. There was love and passion between them but early on, Hadley fell victim to Earnest's wild ways and adventuresome spirit. She stuck with him through thick and thin until she had enough and left him when he openly had an affair with his soon to be second wife.

Their life really began when she followed him to Paris where she played the subservient wife always allowing Hemmingway to have his power of control over her and his surroundings. There were times, while reading this novel that I felt sorry for and at the same time angry at Hadley for not standing up for her rights. I think Hadley desperately loved her husband in spite of his arrogance and his neurosis and I have to give her a lot of credit for being the devoted wife in all circumstances. I did like the surrounding atmosphere of what was called The Lost Generation which included such interesting characters as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. I learned a lot from the book's inside look into these characters.

All in all, I did enjoy this fiction account based on the first marriage of Ernest Hemingway. Although I really liked some of his novels I am not one of his major fans. I knew Hemmingway had his problems but because of this novel my opinion of him has been somewhat lowered.


Sera | 181 comments Judith, I understand. I'm not a fan of either Hemingway the writer or Hemingway the man. Therefore, I'm not surprised by his behavior in the book at all.

I picked up A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway yesterday at the library. I'm looking forward to hearing Ernest's perspective on this time of his life.

As for the bullfighting parts, I hated it, too. I don't find anything redeeming about this sport.


message 18: by Judi/Judith (last edited Aug 05, 2011 06:48AM) (new)

Judi/Judith Riddle (judipatooti) | 1311 comments Sera wrote: "Judith, I understand. I'm not a fan of either Hemingway the writer or Hemingway the man. Therefore, I'm not surprised by his behavior in the book at all.

I picked up [bookcover:A Moveable Feas..."


Thanks Sera. The novel brought up two of my most personal grievances, battered women, emotionally or otherwise, and controlling men.

In spite of that, I did like the setting and the romance and setting of the book. Crazy, huh?


Sera | 181 comments Not crazy at all - I absolutely loved this book - a big 5 stars for me!


Bernadette (Bern51) | 362 comments I loved it too, despite it all. 5 stars for me too!


KarenLee | 474 comments I'm about 25% into book and loving it. I keep having to take breaks from it because of the intensity.


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 1676 comments I loved this book too. So painful to watch the relationship go-to watch him wreck it, & then feel himself a victim as well. Made me so angry as well as sad. At the same time, it seemed so inevitable, Hemingway being who he was.

Made me want to go out & read The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast-pretty much the only Hemingway I ever really liked anyway.

I though Paula McLain made the time & place very real. I would have loved more of Paris but it was the backdrop not the focus of the story & I thought she did a great job. And the people felt so real-it was hard to remember I was reading a novel not a memoir.

Of course, I had to go wiki everybody as soon as I finished!


Bernadette (Bern51) | 362 comments Ellie wrote: "I loved this book too. So painful to watch the relationship go-to watch him wreck it, & then feel himself a victim as well. Made me so angry as well as sad. At the same time, it seemed so inevitabl..."

You are so right Ellie, this book absolutely transported me to another time and place and I was looking everyone up on Wiki too!


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 1676 comments So glad I'm not alone. :)


Diane | 41 comments Sounds like a great book. Have to read. You make it sound very interesting. Do have it on the to read list. Have to move it up


Judi/Judith Riddle (judipatooti) | 1311 comments I did it too. I starting looking up all the characters on Wiki and found that I did not know as much about them as I thought I did!


Irene | 102 comments I liked it a lot better than I expected. Generally I don't really like to read biographies, but this book really read like a novel. I also plan to read A Moveable Feast and / or The Sun also rises, just because this book made me curious to read something by Hemingway.


Bernadette (Bern51) | 362 comments I loved this book so much that now I can't find something that I am really "into" reading, including The Sun Also Rises!


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 1676 comments Irene wrote: "I liked it a lot better than I expected. Generally I don't really like to read biographies, but this book really read like a novel. I also plan to read A Moveable Feast and / or The Sun also rises,..."

Actually, this book is a novel-it just reads like a biography!


KarenLee | 474 comments I liked this book a lot. Just finished it yesterday. The last 40 pages or so were difficult to push through. They were so sad. However I don't think the book had an unhappy ending, Hadley remarried and had a long and happy marriage.


message 31: by Irene (last edited Aug 10, 2011 02:23PM) (new)

Irene | 102 comments Ellie wrote:Actually, this book is a novel-it just reads like a biography!
You are right, it is a novel but from reading the description before I expected more a biography type of book and was pleasantly surprised while reading it.


Ioana | 553 comments I’m reading the book now, and I’m about half way through. I am really enjoying it, even though the feeling that I am watching a train wreck is so strong. Maybe because I know a little about Hemingway and his life?
Some memoir books read like fiction, this novel reads like a memoir; I think that Paula McLain did a wonderful job portraying the time and the characters. Has anyone read anything else of her work?


message 33: by Mindi (last edited Aug 10, 2011 08:43PM) (new)

Mindi (mindianna) | 5 comments Although I really enjoyed this book and am happy that I read it, it became such a painfully heartbreaking read for me. The writing was beautiful and full of emotion. I felt a real connection with Hadley...I felt what she felt. That was also influenced by the fact that I see alot of similarities between her and myself. I was ready for it to be over though and had to finish it tonight, otherwise tomorrow would feel just as sad as today has.

Hemingway has been on my to-read list for a long time, but for some reason I've just never gotten around to reading anything of his. After reading this I don't know that I can read his work and enjoy it. I may have to wait a long while before I can consider it again. I had never really done any research on Hemingway himself, but when I started reading this book I immediately fell in love with the authors portrayal of him. As the story went on I came to loathe him.

A note to those who were discussing "Midnight in Paris": I don't know what else to say other than the film is absolutely wonderful. I think they did a fantastic job of pegging the real life characters. Google "Corey Stoll Ernest Hemingway"...they did a really good job of making the actor look like him! I don't mean to rattle on...I guess I'm just trying to say that I recommend this film (and most certainly The Paris Wife) to anyone and everyone.


Sera | 181 comments Ioana wrote: "I’m reading the book now, and I’m about half way through. I am really enjoying it, even though the feeling that I am watching a train wreck is so strong. Maybe because I know a little about Hemingw..."

Ioana, this is the first that I've heard of this author. She's written her memoirs, which may be interesting.


Kattie (Cappy3709) | 5 comments I wrote my Master's thesis on Hemingway and his dysfunctional relationships...based on a premise that he never quite had the right foundation as a child to form functioning relationships. After doing all of that research from his side, it was fascinating to see it "The Paris Years" play out from Hadley's point of view.

I thought this book was well written, followed the timeline very well, and shed a different light on an often told story. However, even reading the tale from her side, I struggle with understanding how anyone would want to form a relationship with Hemingway, as a friend or as a lover. The desire to be near someone with such intensity and potential overrides the instinct that this man is a selfish, self-destructive, braggart? I never quite understood it during my research and still don't.

Many biographers will tell you that Hadley was Hemingway's one true love...and this book exposes the possibilities of that being true. It's sad to see two people who care for each other so deeply, but can't find a way to let that love blossom without losing themselves.


Sera | 181 comments Kattie wrote: "I wrote my Master's thesis on Hemingway and his dysfunctional relationships...based on a premise that he never quite had the right foundation as a child to form functioning relationships. After do..."

Interesting points, Kattie. I think that part of Hemingway's problem with keeping his own true love, Hadley, was exactly what you said, his inability to form lasting relationships. This result was evidenced by the relationships that Hemingway had with his writing friends also. It seemed that his need to be at the forefront led to unhealthy competition and resentment toward those who helped him with his career.


Shay | 491 comments Kattie wrote: "I wrote my Master's thesis on Hemingway and his dysfunctional relationships...based on a premise that he never quite had the right foundation as a child to form functioning relationships. After do..."

I can see Hemingway thinking that Hadley was his "true love". I think, though, that Hadley was the only wife that he knew was in the relationship for him- not fame, money, etc. That was probably reinforced because Hadley didn't really take much from him in the divorce. I think he probably appreciated Hadley more in hindsight- after a few more marriages- than he did while they were married.


Sera | 181 comments Shay wrote: "Kattie wrote: "I wrote my Master's thesis on Hemingway and his dysfunctional relationships...based on a premise that he never quite had the right foundation as a child to form functioning relations..."

Shay, I hadn't thought of that, but you raise a good point. Hemingway seemed like the type of man who was constantly looking for something better, when he actually had the best at the beginning.


19Gray72 I just finished the book...wow! The only thing that I've ever read of Hemingway was in college. We had to read The Old Man And The Sea and I remember not liking it. This book, unfortunately, did nothing to help me like Hemingway any more. My 2011 woman-self wanted to shake Hadley. I kept having to remind myself that she lived in very different times and it wouldn't have been so easy to get up and leave, especially with a young child. I am very happy to know that she went on to live a happy life in a loving marriage. I very much enjoyed the book even though the characters annoyed and frustrated me. I will say that I am thankful that I live and am married in 2011 and not 1921!


Lisa (LMOnster) I couldn't really relate to Hadley and had a hard time enjoying this book. I appreciated the portrayal of Ezra Pound and it inspired me to read some Hemingway as I haven't before. In particular A Moveable Feast.


Sera | 181 comments Lisa wrote: "I couldn't really relate to Hadley and had a hard time enjoying this book. I appreciated the portrayal of Ezra Pound and it inspired me to read some Hemingway as I haven't before. In particular [bo..."

Lisa, I don't know if you listen to books on audio, but I listened to [bookcover:A Moveable Feast] and though that it was fantastic.


Lisa (LMOnster) Sera wrote: "Lisa wrote: "I couldn't really relate to Hadley and had a hard time enjoying this book. I appreciated the portrayal of Ezra Pound and it inspired me to read some Hemingway as I haven't before. In p..."

I've never listened to books on audio before but on your recommendation I might just give it a go. Thanks Sera! :)


message 43: by Sera (last edited Aug 30, 2011 06:14PM) (new)

Sera | 181 comments Lisa wrote: "Sera wrote: "Lisa wrote: "I couldn't really relate to Hadley and had a hard time enjoying this book. I appreciated the portrayal of Ezra Pound and it inspired me to read some Hemingway as I haven't..."

I just started about a year and a half ago and love it! I only listen during my commute to work and while running errands on my own. I get to experience so many more books and I borrow them from the library, which is an inexpensive way to do it :). If you give it a go, let us know what you think. It's added a whole new level to my reading experience.


Shelley | 70 comments I'm glad Karen reminded us that Hadley ended up remarried and happy! I think this book has a good author; it's just awfully, awfully hard to portray the life of a writer. It's all interior!

Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


Nadia (bagambo) I absolutely loved this book! The writing was excellent and the fact that it involves Hemingway and his Paris Wife makes it all the more intriguing. During this book, I hated Hemingway's character, but I was fascinated by his passion for writing and its made me want to seek out more of his work - I've only read a few of his things. Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year!


Marie | 51 comments I liked this book, I even learned things I didn't know. But I felt that Hemingway was a bit selfish, and felt bad for Hadley, but glad that she found happiness in the end.


thewanderingjew | 14 comments Although I enjoyed reading the book I kept reminding myself that it was historic fiction and not a true story. I thought it was important to keep that in mind because so much of it was conjecture.
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Shelley | 70 comments Nadia, I'm glad you liked the book! And Marie, you're quite right, of course, about Hemingway's being selfish. I'm sympathetic to the people here who object to him as a person--he could sometimes be breathtakingly vicious--but if you read a few of the bios that take a close look at how, in the last 20 years of his life, he struggled against physical pain and mental illness....I don't know, it made me feel much more accepting of him.

Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


Maggie | 823 comments A friend just handed me this book. The great thing about these on-line discussions is that after I've read it I can come see what all of you had to say.


message 50: by Mary (Marbear), Founder (new)

Mary (Marbear) Blackburn (mbeth45) | 9188 comments Mod
Hi all. I didn't have time to read this book but it's on my to-read list for sure. Thanks for the great discussion.

Marbear


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Books mentioned in this topic

A Moveable Feast (other topics)
The Paris Wife (other topics)
Loving Frank (other topics)
The Sun Also Rises (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Ernest Hemingway (other topics)
Paula McLain (other topics)