Rebecca's Reviews > The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
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's review
Apr 07, 2012

it was ok

Again, I'd alter my star rating: I didn't exactly like this book. It was interesting on some levels, but it was awkwardly written, and by the end it felt strange to be reading a fictional autobiography about/"by" a woman who was perfectly capable of writing a REAL autobiography if she'd chosen to do so. Voyeuristic/People-magazine/unattributed quotes, anyone? I was especially bothered by the lack of any kind of works cited information or discussion of how McLain did her research. If I were a living relative, I'd've been freaked out and offended. In addition, I didn't find it transcendent or moving or powerful as a story of love and devotion: she dedicated her life to Ernest. Especially in the time period, was that unusual? And, ultimately, was that a healthy or positive move on her part? Ummmm, no, because she was only "the Paris wife," not the longtime wife. AND in places the writing was awkward and clunky, sort of the antithesis of Hemingway's understated style: McLain would tell everything going on in her characters' minds, leaving us with too much information.

That said, the book deals with interesting times and with people who still reverberate in our culture today, so it was an interesting read. Ultimately, though, I'd suggest that anyone interested in this time period read The Sun Also Rises, because Hemingway did it better!

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Susan Moshynski Yes, I kept thinking that this would have been better if Hemingway had written it.

Rebecca Susan wrote: "Yes, I kept thinking that this would have been better if Hemingway had written it."

But then, a MENU would be better if H. had written it. . . yes? :)

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