Challenge: 50 Books discussion

The Paris Wife
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Group Reads > Group Read: The Paris Wife

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message 1: by Marissa-dono (last edited Apr 30, 2012 06:05PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Okay, Everybody! So this group read is going to be The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. We'll shoot for a start date of May 7th so that those of you ordering online should have plenty of time for delivery. We'll probably read this over a 4-week period (give or take a week depending on how long the book is & how busy we all are) but I will get the schedule posted when I get my hands on a copy from the library tomorrow morning.

If all of you ordering online/buying it happen to get the it before May 7th, perhaps we could start sooner!

If everyone wanting to join in would just pop in and say "hi" that would be great! Looking forward to reading and discussing this book with all of you!


message 2: by Marissa-dono (last edited May 01, 2012 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Tentative Timeline

May 7 - May 13 -- Capters 1-12
May 14 - May 20 -- Chapters 13-24
May 21 - May 27 -- Chapters 25-33
May 28 - Jun 3 -- Chapters 34-End

I know 12 chapters a week may seem like a lot, but these chapters appear to be pretty short, and everything equals out to be around 78 pages a week. That's not too bad, right? If it does end up being too much for too many of us then we can definitely slow things down.

I'll post very deep and serious (yeah right) questions every Sunday so that we can get some discussions going. But, of course, feel free to discuss the book throughout the week as well! You guys don't need me to start conversations and thought processes do you? If you happen to think of something, or something from the book strikes you as interesting, then do post it here!

I'd love for everyone to participate as much as possible in these discussions! The more we all participate the more it makes us think about what other people are saying and it opens us up to new ideas and interpretations of the text, yes? Yes!

That said, if you do read ahead of the group, please only discuss the chapters that are being read for that week. No spoilers allowed! :)

That being said, I can't wait to read and discuss with you guys! I cannot wait for the 7th to get here!


Belinda Hi all. Looking forward to this group book read. I'll go and pick it up from the library this afternoon and start reading straight away. Very excited - this is a great idea.


Susan (SusanThomas) | 90 comments Already read this...enjoy!


Mekerei | 199 comments Hi, downloaded it on to my kindle - good to go!


Diane | 48 comments Looking forward to this group read. Should be interesting.


Anne  L (arl0401) | 60 comments This is great. It was on my to-read list already!


VWrulesChick | 351 comments Got my copy, look forward to the group discussion!


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
It's been on my to-read list for quite a while as well. I've just been doing so many other challenges with my other group, like read the month, and "P"s and "M"s don't happen to come up too much. So I haven't gotten around to it, unfortunately. I was so happy when I saw this as one of the choices for the group read, finally an incentive to boost it to the fore of my reading list!


Melissa | 3 comments I have my copy and am looking forward to it!


Figen | 25 comments Hello,

I just got my copy. Wonder about group discussion.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
What exactly are you wondering about, Figen?


Tom Torkelson Oooo... I just read The Catcher in the Rye last month. Somehow I'd made it to 40-something without ever reading it, but glad that I finally did.
I'll try and read The Paris Wife later this month. Great idea adding a group read; I'm sure there's plenty of us looking for ideas and inspiration...
Cheers,
Tom


Terri Hjelm | 4 comments I'm in and will try my best. However I just got hired to start teaching again after being off for 5 years. I'll have to see how my life goes.


Figen | 25 comments Marissa-dono wrote: "What exactly are you wondering about, Figen?"

Paris Wife is a book I ve known for months but I did not choose the read it.I wonder whether it is worth to read. Plus group discussion is also something new for me. I hope I won't be disappointed.


Tim Weakley | 396 comments Tom wrote: "Oooo... I just read The Catcher in the Rye last month. Somehow I'd made it to 40-something without ever reading it, but glad that I finally did.
I'll try and read The Paris Wife later this month...."


@Tom...you're welcome to add into the discussion of Catcher! ;)


Tim Weakley | 396 comments @Figen

Discussion is enjoyable or not so based on how people contribute. I think when you get a group of people who are not worried about saying what they think it's more fun. You're allowed to not like a book or an author. Some people are huge fans of writers that I wouldn't read again on a bet. The key is to try and understand why and articulate it! :)


Diane | 48 comments Terri wrote: "I'm in and will try my best. However I just got hired to start teaching again after being off for 5 years. I'll have to see how my life goes."

Congratulations on returning to teaching. Having taught for 38 years I know how much of your time it can fill! I always rationalized taking time for my own reading as my way of leading my students by example.


Cheryl | 61 comments I think I'm going to have to buy the book if I want to be able to read it this month. I'm #39 on the list at the library.


Tim Weakley | 396 comments I'm on the hunt for it too. I'll try and get it at Chapters tomorrow.


Carol | 314 comments Lucky, I guess! It was in at the library, and I am looking forward to reading and discussion.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
A big warm welcome to everybody participating!
It looks like so far there are 14 (tentatively) of us and 5 different countries. Sounds like the makings of a great group discussion!


Justo (seabeatnik) I cannot wait!!! I'm excited to read The Paris Wife!!


Lane Willson (lanewillson) | 3 comments This will be my first group read...please be gentle.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Group read officially starts in twelve hours (for me anyways). Really looking forward to hearing what you guys will have to say in our discussions!


Terri Hjelm | 4 comments This will be my first on line book group as well. I am excited to try a new format. I have coordinated 12 teacher as reader book groups this year but didn't have time for one of my own. More importantly, I am really excited to read this book. My kindle is loaded.


Jana (mrszog) | 9 comments hi all! I cant wait to read this book! I've heard some really great things!!


Mekerei | 199 comments Its the 8th in New Zealand. I've read to chapter ten, but will have to go to bed as I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open - really enjoying the read and looking forward to everyone else commenting.


Tim Weakley | 396 comments Up to Chapter 12 and loving this one. This has to be my favourite group of authors and characters in my favourite time period and place. If she brings Sidney Bichet into it as well I will be very happy!


Mekerei | 199 comments Just finished the first 12 chapters. I enjoy her used of language

The nest of fish was crisp under a coarse snow of salt and smelled so simple and good I thought they might save my life. Just a little. Just for that moment.

I can smell the fish and the Seine and believe that in that moment life is simple and uncomplicated. McLain describes these simple pleasures so aptly.


Cheryl | 61 comments I'm on chapter 8 and really enjoying it. Much more than I thought I would to be honest. I love the time period and the art (written as well as visual) from the period. So far at least, I can feel what she describes. She states things simply, matter of factly in many cases, but still in a way to make me feel what she is feeling.


Chris (ChrisMD) | 408 comments I'd like to join to. I actually read the book last year but would love to discuss it and it's been a while since I've been part of a real online discussion group.


Lane Willson (lanewillson) | 3 comments I'm reading a couple of other books as well as The Paris wife, and one of them also has a young female character who will hopefully figure out as part of her journey that she is a strong young lady, but its keeping me confused. I think I'll finish it after we finish The Paris wife.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
I also happen to be reading another book while reading The Paris Wife, (The Expats), and it also happens to be taking place in Paris and it's kind of tripping me up a bit. I may also have to put that book on hold for now.

But I am really enjoying The Paris Wife so far. Although I'll admit that I'm in a bit of a reading rut right now. Possibly because of that other book. But I'm committing tomorrow to finishing this week's chapters.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Well i finished this week's chapters and just wanted to say "wow." I love the narrative in this book. I love that everything is so realistic instead of everything being all rainbows & butterflies & then some overdramatic misunderstanding that creates a giant rift between the two. In Chapter 12, I could almost see Paris, feel the cold, smell the food market. I'm a very big fan of this book so far.

Sidenote: I'll be posting the official discussion question on Saturday instead of Sunday, since I totally forgot about Mother's Day being this Sunday & I'll be busy with plans for my Momma


message 36: by Terri (last edited May 10, 2012 09:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Terri Hjelm | 4 comments I finished this week's chapters Wednesday. They flew by because I love the language and want to see what happens next. I have boxes of letters that my grandmother wrote to her family and they wrote back in return. Most of the letters were written between 1918 through 1932. There I see much similarity in the voices of both my grandma, about the same age, and Hadley. I find that very interesting. Remembering how my grandmother really loved ice cream when the author described Hadley eating her first ice cream was a special delight. Reading Hadley describe sitting at the end of her driveway watching everything go by, an outside observer on page 25 reminded me of myself as well. In my opinion this novel is written in a very sensory style that I love. What a treat so far.


Alison G. | 505 comments this is on my list to read but i am in the middle of another book and i dont like reading more than 1 book at a time.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "this is on my list to read but i am in the middle of another book and i dont like reading more than 1 book at a time."

Well when you finish your current book, feel free to jump in anytime and join us, Alison!


Kristin | 173 comments Just finished chapter twelve. Like everyone else, I love the language and how it almost feels like I'm there. A line in chapter eleven really seemed to set the tone for the rest of the book: But not everyone out in a storm wants to be saved. I'm enjoying this immensely....and will fight the urge to read ahead.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Okay, everybody! It's Saturday morning here & I figured I'd get this out of the way for the day. So I think I'm going to post the "official" discussion questions along with at least one of my own every week. & I have been reminded why I am not an analytical reader so if anyone has any questions they would like to offer up as well then, again, feel free to do so! :)

"Official" Q: In many ways, Hadley's girlhood in St. Louis was a difficult and repressive experience. How do her early years prepare her to meet and fall in love with Ernest? What does life with Ernest offer her that she hasn't encountered before? What are the risks?


My Q: How do you feel about their hasty marriage? Do you think it was more out of attraction or what they thought they needed? Do the same situations happen in today's world?


Lane Willson (lanewillson) | 3 comments The emotions that Hadley expresses feel authentic to me and the significant repeated loss and trauma she experiences as a child seem to offer paradoxical influences on her life as a young woman. Having come through the experience of pain, loss, as well as the fear that they generate, a strange sense of freedom is created. I can take this risk because even if things go bad, I know I can be alright. I have survived before, and I will survive again. Desperation can also be born from loss. Having lost so much, so young and so often, Hadley may respond to any expression of love and affection as a woman crossing the Sahara would respond to water. Hadley is clearly aware that she is perilously close to becoming a spinster, and does not appear happy at the prospect. This seems as much a part of her decision as the feelings of love she has for Earnest.


Belinda Okay, here we go - I haven't done this since high school, so I shall do my best...

The deaths of Hadley's father and sister Dorothea had a huge impact on Hadley. Add to that her mother's expectations that she would not amount to much and you can completely understand the dark depressive demons that she fought regularly. No wonder she was so desperate for a better life. "It was terrible to feel so empty, as if I were nothing. Why couldn’t I be happy? And just what was happiness anyway? Could you fake it, as Nora Bayes insisted? Could you force it like a spring bulb in your kitchen, or rub up against it at a party in Chicago and catch it like a cold?" (page 9)

I think Hadley has a certain vulnerablity in her character, therefore Ernest's attentions and lifestyle offer her opportunity for a new life she never had before yet dreamt of achieving one day. “It was dangerous to keep my heart on the line with Ernest, but what real choice did I have? I was falling in love with him, and even if I didn’t feel at all brave about the future, my life had unquestionably changed for the better since I’d met him. I felt it at home in St Louis and at Kenley’s too. At the beginning of each evening I was nervous and shy, worried that I had nothing to contribute to the group, but then I’d settle into my skin and my voice. By midnight, I would be part of things, ready to drink like a sailor and talk until morning. It was like being born over each night, the same process again and again, finding myself, losing myself, finding myself again.” (page 56)

Both Ernest and Hadley need each other - Hadley needs Ernest to be a better person, to "complete" her. Without Ernest Hadley felt empty and incomplete, almost to the point where she couldn't live without him which is dangerous. Ernest needs Hadley to make him feel safe, but he has his writing to immerse himself in, shutting Hadley out at times, making her feel less of a wife and person in general. “It would be the hardest lesson of my marriage, discovering the flaw in this thinking, I couldn’t reach into every part of Ernest and he didn’t want me to. He needed me to make him feel safe and backed up, yes, the same way I needed him. But he also liked that he could disappear into his work, away from me. And come back when he wanted to”. (page 74)

I think their marriage was hasty and based more out of need than attraction at first, however, I think they honestly yet blindly believed it to be love. Times have changed since the 1920's and women's independence movements have changed the way women live in today's world. It's okay to be a strong, independent, single woman and have a successful career - the need to have a man to support you is no longer the norm as in those days. Women are no longer stuck in the "women's corner" whilst the men discuss the important issues.

I hope I haven't bored you all! I am looking forward to seeing how this story unfolds and hope that Hadley can blossom into a strong, independent woman in her own right.


Tim Weakley | 396 comments I keep wondering if her experience with an alchoholic father is going to help her with her future alchoholic husband!

The marriage and the age gap seemed a little odd to me.


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Tim wrote: "I keep wondering if her experience with an alchoholic father is going to help her with her future alchoholic husband!

The marriage and the age gap seemed a little odd to me."


I find myself wondering the same thing, At first I thought 'No two alcoholics are alike' but then again maybe all alcoholics are exactly the same on many levels?

& as to the age gap, I think it's more of an odd concept in the 1920s (especially with an older woman) but in today's world 8 years difference isn't so bad. I mean my mother is 13 years older than my step-dad. Not so odd. Actually my whole family seems to be full of "cougars". Bah! Anyways.

I also believe that their marriage was based more on what they feel they need at the time but they also genuinely believe that they're in love.

I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of this book & finding out just how much their illusions of what Paris life will be like are misconceptions.


message 45: by Mekerei (last edited May 13, 2012 05:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mekerei | 199 comments Mariss-dono wrote: ...I think it's more of an odd concept in the 1920s (especially with an older woman) ...

I don't think that it is that odd, maybe in the States, but in New Zealand quite a lot of couples in my family (my mum was born in 1916 and was the youngest of 14; my dad was born in 1917 and the second youngest of nine) where the wife was a good five to ten years older than her husband.

I too come from from a family of cougars, and like my mum have a younger husband LOL. Maybe things like this never really change over the generations - its just that we notice it more now because of Cougar Town.

I don't think that Hadley dares to live, “I made my reply last all day, putting things down as they happened, wanting to be sure he could picture me moving from room to room, practicing the piano, sitting down to a perfect cup of ginger tea ….”. This makes her sound so dull, colourless, not a real person. Has her earlier experiences made her so unable to live until she finds someone else’s life to live?


Marissa-dono (mdawnh96) | 107 comments Mod
Mekerei wrote: "Has her earlier experiences made her so unable to live until she finds someone else’s life to live? "

I'd have to agree. I mean, she never seems to be able to have her own fun, she always seems to need someone else with her to do anything at all. I mean she just arrived in Paris for goodness sake! And all she does all day while Ernest is gone is clean and grocery shop. I mean, I understand the necessity to clean their tiny & shabby apartment, but all day, everyday? What do they do to it everyday to make it need that sort of cleaning?! I wish she'd get out and enjoy the city on her own! Hopefully that's coming up this week.


Figen | 25 comments Marissa-dono wrote: "Okay, everybody! It's Saturday morning here & I figured I'd get this out of the way for the day. So I think I'm going to post the "official" discussion questions along with at least one of my own e..."

I think the need is more powerful than love in their relation at the beginning. Hadley needs to be away from her current life as well as Hemingway.

There is also the age difference. He was 21 and Hadley 28. He was too young to marry. Maybe Hadley is the mother figure he needed.


Jana (mrszog) | 9 comments I think in a way they're both naive, especially Hadley. He seems to want the mother figure plus a wife and she just isn't sure what she wants. I know people like Hadley who go along with what their husband's or significant others want and don't know how to find out what they truly want or need to live their life happily. Very sad!


Tim Weakley | 396 comments Jana wrote: "I think in a way they're both naive, especially Hadley. He seems to want the mother figure plus a wife and she just isn't sure what she wants. I know people like Hadley who go along with what the..."

I think you're bang on with the mother figure comment. Does anyone else think he spent his life trying to be this "I don;t care what you think!" type and yet seeking approval for being a tough guy? The boxing thing...geez


Jana (mrszog) | 9 comments Tim wrote: "Jana wrote: "I think in a way they're both naive, especially Hadley. He seems to want the mother figure plus a wife and she just isn't sure what she wants. I know people like Hadley who go along ..."

That boxing thing drives me nuts also!


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Paris Wife (other topics)
The Catcher in the Rye (other topics)
The Sun Also Rises (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Paula McLain (other topics)