“i don’t want to think and i don’t want to feel, either, unless it’s as simple as this beautiful boy’s knee inches from mine.”
okay, seeing as this is my blog i think that gives me a little bit of creative freedom. thus, using this creative freedom i’m going to have to fan-girl up a storm about this book.
i’m not the biggest fan of hemingway but i adore historical fiction and if it’s about a novelist i’ve always found kind of fascinating, then sign me up. this book was all i could hope. it was a completely realistic, lyrical, gorgeous dramatization of the relationship of ernest hemingway and his first wife, hadley.
from the get-go, you obviously know this novel isn’t going to end well, but you can’t help but sympathize with hadley’s hopeful, albeit malleable and passive, spirit. i thought mclain really captured hemingway’s writing style in hadley’s voice by keeping descriptions and style down to a minimum and just relying on the bare facts and experiences in their raw state to let their extraordinary experiences really come to light.
“ ‘get some rest now.’ ‘yes,’ i said, because i couldn’t begin to explain that i’d been resting for twenty one years, but that tonight i’d tried for something else.”
hadley is someone you find yourself both wanting to smack up side the head (i left numerous notes on my kindle in various points of the book where i wrote “gosh, she is so dumb”) but also you want to help her stick up for herself. she is very much a pawn to ernest’s king, and tends to sway to his will, but only because she loves him, his strength, and was the one woman who believed wholeheartedly in his pursuits to become a writer. and that is what makes her so admirable; that she uprooted her life so many times for this man and his art and quelled her own creative desires for his sake.
if you’re a historical fiction nerd like myself. or need a good plane/subway/car book, this is definitely a good and light read.
“my mind was suddenly such a hive of unanswerable questions that i had to smile at myself. wasn’t this exactly what i had wanted coming to chicago, something new to think about? i turned to face the mirror over the bureau. hadley richardson was still there, with her auburn waves and thin lips and pale round eyes—but there was something new too, a glimmer of potential. it was just possible the sun was on its way. in the meantime, i would hum nora bayes and do my damnedest to make believe.”