Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: The Paris Wife

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is basically a historical fiction novel about Hadley, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. However, I think most of the book is pretty accurate because of research and letters and such that Paula McLain used when writing it. It took me a couple tries to get through this book. I'd start and stop and then forget what was going on so ultimately I started all the way over and re-read it before I lost the drive. Now as far as the writing goes, it was ok. I didn't find it very compelling. I think McLain tried to copy Hemingway's style but didn't succeed. Instead of the dreamy, flowing prose of Hemingway, McLain's attempt was more of a dragging narrative.

So... what did I think. Hmm. Mainly I ended up being frustrated and angry with this book, more specifically Hadley. She constantly allows her husband to walk all over her, flirt openly with other women, and eventually engage in an open affair! Have some respect for yourself! It's no wonder the relationship fell apart. She was spineless and lost her identity in her husband as a way to keep him. Nobody wants a push-over who doesn't have a life of their own. I mean, you don't buy a new dress to replace the rags you're wearing because you think it'll make your husband dislike your friends? WHO CARES?! I'm not saying Hemingway was a perfect saint in this but this woman really made my blood boil. If you feel bad for your husband because he's in love with (and can't choose between) two women and allow him to go back and forth openly during the day between hotel rooms (and shockingly don't stand up for yourself when the other woman jumps into bed naked with you and your husband), well, I just don't have much sympathy for you. You've essentially condoned his actions and shouldn't be surprised when you're the one that gets kicked to the curb.

In other words, I believe you teach people how to treat you and Hadley's story is a perfect example of that.

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