So boring and poorly written. I think it made it worse that it was an audible. It somehow made it even more clear to me how poorly written it was. Waste of time.
I really enjoyed this book and find it hard to understand why so many reviewers criticize the reader. I think she does an excellent job and her voice for Hadley and others in the book fits the time period perfectly. The story is fiction but appears to be very much based on fact. It's a fascinating look at an era and many famous characters, such as F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein etc.
I found I struggled a little after about the half way point because not a lot seemed to be happening. Once I finished the book, I realized that there was a great deal happening in a subtle way! I really enjoyed this book. Carrington MacDuffie was extremely easy to listen to and to believe!
Slow....interesting, but I found myself drifting off thinking about other things while listening. There wasn't enough movement in the story. There was no noticeable growth...not really. I wanted an exciting read. It wasn't.
I liked the perspective of the story being written from Hadley Hemmingway's point of view. As with many geniuses, Earnest Hemmingway was a troubled man and those around him were made to suffer too. Though this is a fictional autobiography, I found it to be enlightening and very enjoyable.
Echoing what's been said before, the narration unfortunately ruins the book. If you know the story of Hadley and Hem, it's fraught with melancholy that simply can't be communicated by the narrator. Most of her sentences end with a slight raising of the voice, making each line sound as if it's completely shocking and possibly the punchline of terrible joke. It reminds me of the way a mother would read to a child - over-animated and juvenile. This is coupled with what I think of as a "Connecticut Boarding School" tone of voice that is very affected. The story is good, but almost impossible to enjoy in this format.
I like biographies, and this book was more like a biography than a novel to me. The author displayed some bright moments in the writing style in some descriptions. Otherwise, it didn't stir much emotion in the writing. What grated on me was nearly every conversation began or ended with "she said" "he said" "I said." I can't remember the author using other words that described *how* something was said. The narrator was the only clue to emotion. I still wasn't thrilled with the narrator. She did well enough for the most part; but during some conversations, the only way I could differentiated between the speakers was those dreaded words "she said" "I said" and yes, even "he said."
I would not try another book by either McLain or MacDuffie. The narrator definitely ruined the story for me and I wasn't very impressed in the first place with the strength of the writing.
The narrator's style was very much like a parent reading a fairy tale to a toddler. It was horrible. She made the character's dialogue sound like high school drama students. This was especially disappointing considering one of the main characters is Ernest Hemingway!
Before I read this book, I knew nothing about Ernest Hemingway's early adult life, and this was a great way to discover it. I particularly enjoyed the point of view from which the story is told (Hemingway's first wife) and thought the narrator's voice suited Hadley well. Early in the book, it was easy to understand the mutual attraction, and I realized that I too could have fallen in love with the young writer, so it was with dread that I recognized the early signs of his decline as the book progressed. This was a fascinating time in American literary history, and McLain did an excellent job of bringing it to life.
I'm the author of the book "Bronx DA" and an attorney.
I was not very bothered by the narrator of this book, but I was bothered by the superficial nature of the story and the characters. I never felt like I got to know or care about the people in this book or what happened to them. It all felt very superficial. The book was trying to be something that didn't quite succeed - like it was trying to be a Gatsby but missed the mark - for me, by a lot.
In reading the other reviews, I wonder if I would have felt differently had I read the book and not listened to it. I did not feel like the narrator was that bad but perhaps her reading of the book gave it the superficial feel, but I don't think so. Unlike another reviewer, I did not feel like Hadley was strong or interesting or that I even was able to sympathize with her plight.
In fact, by the end of the book, I did not feel like I knew her, or Hemingway or anyone else at all.
What the book did accomplish was making me want to go back and read The Sun Also Rises - I hope that reading the book that Hemingway wrote about this same time period will tell me a lot more about the characters than Paula McLain did.