Friday, August 7, 2015

The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had to really stop and think before rating this book. I absolutely love how beautifully written, engaging, and compelling the story is.
On the other hand, I dislike Hemingway with a passion, not to mention I have no respect, tolerance or sympathy for cheaters. So here I am reading a book about his life and trying to be impartial, trying to keep an open mind.

"(...) when I saw his career as my own and believed it was my role or even my fate to help him carve a way."

I was taken over by the narrative from page one, it is written in such a way that soon I was totally connected to the characters emotions. I fell in love with that young Ernest along with Hadley but was also afraid of all that was unsaid about him. There is always that dreadful feeling that things will turn bad soon, it is just a matter of time. That apprehension and anxiety at the end of each chapter.

The book is narrated by Hadley but Hemingway's voice can be heard in a couple of chapters, McLain probably intended for the readers to understand his behavior by seeing the events from his POV, but in my opinion it just made me like him less.
He was a troubled man, with deep, serious issues. Probably suffering from PTSD from very early on, and with a tendency to depression. He just didn't want to be alone, bottom line.

However, despite all we know about Hemingway's troubles and misfortunes, there is no way to be impartial and sympathize with him knowing what he was doing to Hadley. She was his rock, his base. She dedicated and sacrificed her money (what little she had) and her life to see him succeed.
It happened in the 1920's just how it still happens today, the women support their men and once the men get successful they find someone else to share the success with.

"(...) but in the end fighting for a love that was already gone felt like trying to live in the ruins of a lost city."

40 years later, when Hemingway writes A Moveable Feast which was published after his suicide, he writes about Hadley "I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her". It just makes you think about that old saying... You only value it after you lose it.

Sad, painful, heartbreaking, and beautiful. The thing is, now I want to read about him, and know what was inside his head. McLain might have done me good with her love for her characters despite their faults. She might have made me like Hemingway now, a little bit at least. Just a little.
Kleenex, please!

View all my reviews

No comments: