I don't have much to add to the previous review. But the genre of fiction "based on" fact is an interesting one, probably challenging for the writer. What to leave in, what to leave out, etc. This book inspired me to research Hemingway for more details on his fantastic, adventurous life.
This could be the start of a possible series on the Hemingway wives and the transitions amongst them.
I enjoyed this novel immensely. The description of the characters and settings was wonderful. McLain paints a vivid picture of the literary scene in Paris after WWI, and how Ernest and Hadley Hemingway fit into it. After reading this fictionalized account of their lives together, I am anxious to read a biography of Hemingway to learn more about this man, as well as re-read some of his books.
I like others researched Hemingway's life while listening. I was truly moved by Hadley's plight and her strength! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and loved being swept away to Paris and their other travels.
The story is a but sad really. But the book is well written and compelling. Sometimes the narrator's voice for other characters is not the best but the book and the story are wonderful if you want to know more about this time in Paris, these writers and artists.
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."
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.
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.
Marriage to Ernest Hemingway would be the ultimate challenge. Combine his personality and restleness with Hadley's insecurities and dependency is to realize there can be nothing other than a turmulous outcome. Their relationship was not fun to read about but hearing about the people ( Stein, Pound, Fitzgeralds) living in Paris at the same time makes this book.
It was a book club book. I don't think I would have finished it if it were a printed book. I personally am not a Heminway fan and the foreshadowing is a little heavy in this book. (
if they want a glimpse of what Hemingway's life was like in the early years then yes, but otherwise no, especially if you don't like bull fighting which I detest.
Ok but not riveting. Needs to learn Spanish pronunciation.
I would rent the DVD so I could skip the bull fighting.