Friday, February 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
In reading The Paris Wife I certainly found myself romanticizing 1920s Paris. How could I not? Travels around Europe, cafes seemingly jam packed with notable writers and artists, and well, Paris. So I began to read The Sun Also Rises, Hadley, a biography of Hemingway's first wife, a biography of Hemingway, and saw Stephen Colbert's hilarious Colbert Book Club episode featuring A Farewell to Arms and I had to remind myself of Hemingway's many flaws. The alcoholism, the adultery, the bipolar disorder, the stabbing your friends in the back, not really someone I might want to spend time with. For all his amazing books and seemingly unbelievable life, the man had some serious issues, and that can be hard to keep in mind. So the next time I'm wrapped up in a book (so, maybe next year sometime?) remind me to look deeper, think harder, these were people, too.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
This is what I wrote on Monday, and to be brutally honest, I hate it. It's rambling and pointless. Apologies in advance. Hopefully a better work to come.
'Tis true. I read, from beginning to end, and thoroughly enjoyed the book, The Paris Wife.
Let me first apologize to my cousin for not reading Hild, our agreed upon virtual book club book. I've been too chicken to admit that it was way over my head, and I couldn't understand the language. My brain no longer operates at a very high level.
When my parents visited for Thanksgiving, my mom brought me a bag of books she was done reading and one day I decided I felt like actually reading, so I randomly picked a book from the bag, The Paris Wife was mere happenstance. It tells the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, from their meeting up to their divorce, and I found it riveting.
I spent most of my childhood in Oak Park, Illinois, which, strangely, also is the hometown of Hemingway. We even graduated from the same high school, believe it or not, though the only section of the high school that was there when he attended is now the back of the building and has wavy floors that made me seasick to walk on them. Oak Park is a liberal PC type of place where the elementary schools are named for people like John Greenleaf Whittier and Oliver Holmes. Hemingway hated it there. He disliked his family, especially hated his mother, and he didn't like Oak Park. He left as soon as he could. His boyhood home is now a museum and there's another Hemingway museum down the street from his house, which contains artifacts from the WWI era, and there's a big plaque in the high school commemorating all the famous alums in bronze, Hemingway of course being the big one, with Dan Castellaneta following close behind, at least for the kids of my generation.
My junior year of high school my English class focused on American writers. We read a great many classics that year, My Antonia, Great Gatsby, Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, and, of course, A Farewell to Arms. My final paper for that class was about Hemingway and Fitzgerald, their friendship and their writings. That summer I read A Moveable Feast, solidifying my desire to spend time in Paris lounging at cafes, I suppose, because hey, I was 17. Last year I read The Old Man and the Sea which was all right, not my favorite, and I had read it only after seeing the movie Midnight in Paris and my mom telling me how great the book was. And there my most recent Hemingway obsession stopped.
After reading The Paris Wife, I'm now reading The Sun Also Rises as well as Hadley, because I really had to know what happened to Hadley, his first wife, after their divorce. Reading Hadley has shown me that if you read The Paris Wife, you're getting a very accurate description of what their lives were really like, despite it's classification of historical fiction.
I'm once again wrapped up in the stories of how people like Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway used to just hang out and have drinks together. It seems so surreal to me now, nearly 100 years after the fact, that such a thing could even happen. Who just hangs out with the Fitzgeralds and goes on vacation with them to Monaco? Like it's just what you're doing because yeah, I'm going to have dinner with Matisse tonight, and maybe Ford Madox Ford will come by, too. But that's exactly what happened and it completely blows my mind over and over and over again.