Book Review: The Paris Wife

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THE PARIS WIFE – Paula McLain

The New York Times Bestseller

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time—Paris in the twenties—and an extraordinary love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

In Chicago in 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 finds herself captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group of expatriates that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

But the hard-drinking and fast-living café life does not celebrate traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt and Ernest wrestles with his burgeoning writing career, they must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history.

I highly suggest this reading, as it portrays what society has deemed a great man through the eyes of what I found to be an even greater woman. However, some questions (that I myself could use more clarity on):

Is Hadley loosing herself by constantly playing such a supporting role to her husband, forever leaving herself behind?

Portrayed as a strong woman with her own very traditionally quiet and simple values, is Hadley in her own right a feminist, or does she embody the stereotype of never wanting to displease thus blocking the progression her gender’s modern agenda?

spoiler alert: Should she have been so accommodating to Pauline and Ernest’s blatant affair, when as she admits, it was killing her? Should she have attempted to make this new “modern” twist of their relationship work and try to include Pauline in her love and sexual life?  Or perhaps done away with Pauline immediately as her “best friend” and not have been so easily sucked into what was a miserable situation? Pfife was sneaking into bed with Ernest while Hadley pretended to sleep next to him! Was it brave to keep fighting for Ernest’s love or pathetic (I don’t mean this to put her down but does it in fact take away some of her “strength” or give her more for staying true to her feelings no matter what)?

Please read the book and help me answer these questions in the comment section!

Find it here on Amazon.com

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