Sunday, April 14, 2013

REVIEW: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris WifeTitle: The Paris Wife
Author: Paula McLain
Published: February 22nd 2011 by Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Page Count: Paperback, 314 pages + extras = 331 pages
Finish Reading: April, 2013
First Sentence: Prologue: Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.  (excerpt)

Back of the Book Synopsis: Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Knowing nothing of Ernest Hemingway (just that he was an author) or Hadley Richardson and their marriage in Paris. I was surprised on how much I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed knowing more about their life. (even if it was written as fiction) I was so invested in these people, characters. That once I Was done with the epilogue I was sad to see it go. I am definitely planing to read more books on Ernest and Hadley and their marriage. One of them being Ernest Memoir, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

When I first saw this book it was in a Goodreads advertising I thought it looked like a good book, but this was based by the title, the praises, and the star ratings. (I never actually read the synopsis.) I just noticed that it took place in Chicago, 1920's assuming that later Hadley moved to Paris. Plus it was a historical fiction a favorite genre of mine. Later I noticed there was a giveaway for this book (via Goodreads Giveaways) so I decided to enter it and actually won. Once I received the copy in the mail that's when I read the whole synopsis and realized it was about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson. All I knew about Ernest Hemingway at the time was the fact that he was an author who wrote award winning books and that was all. I never once knew about his marriage with Hadley or their life in Paris. I knew nothing of their life. 

The only book that I've read that was a historical fiction book about an author's writing life type of book was Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin a book in which I enjoyed, but I already knew some of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)'s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which was what the book was based on... So I think that's why I enjoyed the book. So knowing nothing or Ernest or his works I didn't really know if I was going to enjoy this book. 

But once I picked this book up I was in chapter five and before I knew it I was invested in the characters of Hadley and Ernest. (The Paris Wife is written through Hadley's perspective even though there are a few chapters written in the third person.) I enjoyed those few chapters that I read before I had to put down for reasons I don't really remember. Put since I put the book down I couldn't stop thinking of the story and Hadley and Ernest and just the situations of the book and wondering what was going to happen next (like I mentioned I didn't know much of Hadley or Ernest's life, marrage. Anything.) I guess that's why I was able to think of them as characters then actual people though I heard that this book follows a lot of facts of their life nicely.

I took me a couple of months to re-pick up this book (April of 2013). One day I was just looking through my "books I've started, but still have to finish shelf" and The Paris Wife was the only book I really wanted to re-pick up and so I did... and I absolutely loved it and did not understand why I ever put it down in the first place. I just kept wanting to know more. I enjoyed the ending. And was extremely sad to see it over will definitely want to pick up more works on Ernest and Hadley and their life in Paris.

May contain Spoilers depending on how you look at it.
(My brief thoughts on Ernest and Hadley as "Characters").

Ernest was a character that I didn't really like at first even after the first couple that I read he just didn't seem like able to me, but Hadley just had to fall for him is what I thought. I just thought that Ernest just took Hadley for granted and even though I didn't understand why she just didn't just leave him. I actually admired her for fighting for her marriage as much as she did (Even through the most twisted situations she tired to understand and hoped for the better). She actually honored her vows for as long as she could (Hadley was an extremely strong and amazing woman in my opinion). Not saying that Ernest was ALWAYS an a-hole with her but he did have his moments, but by the end of the story I grew to actually sympathy and a bit of admiration for Ernest.  

I love the ending to this novel and I was extremely sad and sentimental once I was finished with this novel. I deep down wished that both Hadley and Ernest had actually worked things out even though knowing that they wouldn't (synopsis, foreshadowing, and not to mention history). Paula McLain did a great job on this book and I shall definitely be picking up some other of her works. I am also planning to pick up A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (his memoir) for I wish to learn more about their life in Paris especially want to see their life in Paris though his eyes.

• I didn't really like Ernest's personality at times, but this had no affect on my star rating for the way Paula McLain wrote it it only made it seem real and to me this is more of a positive thing.
• I also found Pauline's character kind of twisted.

• Hadley's narration and voice felt like Hadley was telling the story.
• The fact that it kept me reading.
• The writing style.
• The few third person chapters. I like how those were added in in order you could know a bit more then what Hadley knew at that time.
• The fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald were in this. (I have yet to read the Great Gatsby.)


“Quote” ― Character, Page

OVERALL: I think anyone who loves historical fiction and journal type of books would enjoy this novel. Any Ernest fans may like to see the way "Hadley's" perspective on how it was being married to him. I would recommend this book to anyone. ^^;; I just loved it.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Overall (Goodreads) Rating: 3.74 Stars
( o u t . o f . f i v e . stars)

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