Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Hadley Richardson meets the young Ernest Hemingway in Chicago in the early 1920’s.  Hemingway is just back from his harrowing experience with World War I.   She falls in love with the brawny 21 year-old even though her best friend Kitty is disapproving.  The book follows their courtship, marriage and moving to Paris. 

Much has been written about Paris in the “Roaring Twenties”.  There were many expatriates living in the magical city which find their way into the young couple lives; Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tokas, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Archibald MacLeish.  They lived a relatively hedonistic lifestyle.  They make trips to Italy, Switzerland for skiing and Spain for the bullfights.  The Sun Also Rises was written during this time frame and was taken from Hemingway’s life.

This is really a story about marriage and what happens when one of the pair decide to change the rules.  How much will one person tolerate? 

The writing wasn’t fantastic, but the subject was interesting and kept me reading.  (Spoiler Alert) I knew that their marriage didn’t last, but it was interesting to read about the evolution and seeing the missteps along the way.

3 stars (Rated PG-13; some sex, but not too graphic)

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