The Paris Wife

I awoke this morning with a bit of a sore throat and have felt slightly off all day. I knew I wanted to get some nutritious foods into my belly around lunchtime and figured a smoothie packed with spinach and fruit would be a great way to sneak a lot of healthy fare into one cup.

The highlight of the smoothie?

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Peanut butter!

Rumor has it that today is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, so it was only fitting. I’m now craving my peanut butter energy bites, so I may have to make a batch this evening.

My smoothie looked like death in a cup, but it tasted great!

In the blender:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 spoonful peanut butter
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1 spoonful cocoa powder
  • 3 large handfuls fresh spinach

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It was not so pretty, but I am hoping that all of the vitamins and nutrients from the spinach and fruit will help fight off whatever sickness seems to be trying to sneak up on me.

And now it’s time to discuss February’s book club selection, The Paris Wife!

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife is a novel told from the perspective of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. Ernest and Hadley married in 1921 after a very short courtship and the couple quickly moved to Paris during the Jazz Age, enjoying their new marriage, many drinks and the company of well-known writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.

the paris wife

As a reader, I already knew that Hadley and Ernest’s marriage ultimately fails because of history, but following their journey and trying to understand their complicated bond kept my interest, though slowly but surely I found myself growing more and more frustrated with Hadley. I liked her, but started to lose respect for her and disagreed with a lot of her personal decisions, particularly in the second half of the book. 

hadley hemingway

(Hadley Richardson: Source)

Hadley and Ernest seem very opposite, with Ernest portrayed as a vibrant, proud, egotistical and dynamic man and Hadley a calm, supportive, lost yet loving woman. They seem to adore each other but it’s clear that they have some very intense differences and ideals.

I really enjoyed how the book introduced me to writers I’ve admired for years as friends of the Hemingways. Reading about F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby (my favorite “assigned reading” book from high school), was interesting and fun, as I haven’t done much research into his personal life. “Knowing” the secondary characters in the book really added to the story, especially when I started to become increasingly frustrated with Hadley.

I enjoyed reading about Ernest’s writing habits and his dedication to his writing, though his endearing passion for writing seemed to morph into a craft tainted with ego as the book progressed. I also found myself questioning Hadley, her way of life and her decisions with greater fervor during the second half of the book. I began to think she was meek and should stand her ground with greater intensity and not put up with Ernest’s games and his inevitable infidelity.

As a whole, I enjoyed the book and thought it was a quick, easy read. It also sparked my interest in the lives of the authors discussed in the book and I quickly found myself researching and reading more and more about the personal lives of the prominent writers discussed in The Paris Wife.

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Additional reviews of The Paris Wife may be found on the following blogs:

Discussion Questions

  • Did you find Hadley likeable? Why or why not?
  • Did you enjoy the random passages written from Ernest’s point of view? Did you find that they added to the story and helped you understand Ernest or changed your opinion of him in any way?
  • Do you feel like there was one moment in Hadley and Ernest’s relationship where things changed and became irreparable or was the demise of their relationship slow and steady?

Comments

  1. says

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well… you should try some cinnamon to help suck out some toxins! Plus it’s really good in shakes (double bonus)!

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  2. Sarah says

    The Sun Also Rises is my second favorite “required book”. If you liked the Great Gatsby you should try it. He writes in such a way that you can picture yourself in that time period. I really loved that Hadley had another life after Ernest.

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  3. Claire says

    I’ve totally been researching (aka browsing wikipedia) about the main and secondary characters since I finished the book! They definitely led interesting lives…not my style, but fascinating!
    And Hadley was one of the most frustrating “heroines” I’ve ever encountered. I just couldn’t get on board with her way of dealing with her life. Ugh. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I am glad that she found happiness in the end.
    Overall, it’s a great book! I love it when a book makes me want to learn more about the characters/time period/lifestyle etc.

    What’s next????

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  4. Gail Angell says

    I have a question not pertaining to this book. In one of your blogs you talked about a friend named Ellen (?) that has a blog that talks about different books. Would you please let me know the name of the blog? Thanks
    P S I really enjoy reading your blog.

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  5. says

    Loved the book and the history. After reading it I immediately re-read A Moveable Feast. I tend to do that with books, once I start on a theme I will go with it for a while!

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  6. says

    Wow. I just finished the book last night and I could not stop crying. I was reading it out loud to my husband, and the thought of divorce was just so miserable.

    I did like Hadley, even though she really frustrated me with not standing her ground and putting up more of a fight. However, in some ways I could see why she did what she did in her situation.

    I really liked the parts into Ernest’s mind. I found myself wanting to know what he was thinking during many different parts of the story. I think it really helped to explain a lot of things to me.

    I didn’t see one spot where their relationship failed…it seemed very gradual.

    Such a sad story, but like you I enjoyed the look back into the personalities of historical figures.

    Can’t wait for next month. Hopefully I can be on time! 🙂

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  7. C Lill says

    I’m late to the party as I just finished the book today (103 holds at the library!!)…

    I enjoyed this book. I liked Hadley. I felt bad for her and of course, I can think up things she should have done differently, but she knew Ernest better than us. I feel like she knew she couldn’t change him or his beliefs or force love. His other marriages didn’t work either so it clearly wasn’t just her.

    It also makes me reflect on my own relationships. Hadley and Ernest once felt how I feel with my husband: so in love, nothing can stop this.. but love can end. You don’t plan for it and you don’t go for looking for it, but its important to take the time now and cherish what you have. Makes me want to take a romantic vacation. Reminds me to stop rushing through life and just have some time to be in the moment. With all the best intentions (and even without a psycho like Ernest) you never know how things will turn out. And I’m happy that Hadley did move on.

    I sound like a downer.. I do believe in love, marriage and spending the rest of my life with ONE person… but when I think about how my life is now compared to where I was 5 or 10 years ago, I know I can’t depend on things to be how I imagine. Invest in those you love, fight for what you believe in, but you can’t win every war and you can’t force someone to love you… And there is life after everything falls apart.

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  8. says

    It’s interesting that you enjoyed the role of the secondary characters. I liked the idea that Hemingway was surrounded by these people, but I felt none of them were really given their own personality in the book. I think some could have been relegated to name-only references, and other built up into more interesting parts of the story.

    My review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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