Amanda Panda’s Book review for The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, as originally seen on Ohsocleverreads.
I ordered my book off of Amazon and when I opened my book a bunch of receipts fell out. All I can say is that this person shops at Target, Joann’s (twice), WinCo foods, and Family Christian. Fellow book owner, it was very interesting to see what you bought. lol
But to the review!
For this book, I purposefully didn’t look up information on Hadley. I wanted things to be a surprise, because the book was enjoyable from the start. However, as an English Lit major for my undergrad degree, I already knew plenty about Ernest Hemingway to know what to expect.
It’s rare for a book to hold my interest as much as this one did – especially when the book is not EXACTLY my cup of tea (it was very gendered and very book-clubby).
To me, the book is a case study on marriage. The Modernists were very interesting characters despite their literature. My favorite parts included the glimpses of Stein and their (Hadley and Hemingway’s) interactions with her and Alice.
If you like the Modernists, then you will like this book – because it offers a perspective on them that I had not considered before (the perspective of an outsider so close to them). It was also very interesting to see/consider how the publishing industry functioned WAY BACK WHEN. Things sure have changed now.
Side note, I want a Gertrude Stein of my very own, thank you.
Though my view of Hemingway did not change after I read this book (I do not like Hemingway as a person. He is too cruel and too-self involved) I learned about Hadley and grew to dislike her. In fact, I like Hemingway more than her. Not because she is as messed up as Hemingway or anything, but because she is more selfish than he was. Well…at least her character in this book was.
Even I resented her for losing Hemingway’s manuscript. But I resented her more when she was careless about her birth control. She knew who Hemingway ‘was’ deep down and why the HELL would she want to produce offspring with him? She was the most selfish character in this book.
But I will stop ranting.
My overall judgment of this book: It is worth reading. Especially if you need something to calm you down after watching The Great Gatsby. But it won’t change your life… It will certainly leave you reconsidering your life choices, but it won’t change your life. Was a B book.
I’ve reviewed quite a few other books here.