This is the first book in a while that I’ve read that was written in the past 10 years. Although, it’s a historical fiction novel about Ernest Hemingway’s life through the eyes of his first wife Hadley. So, really, I haven’t strayed much from my “go-to” books.
I went through phases of liking and not liking this book. In the beginning, I was hooked pretty easily, then about halfway through, I almost stopped reading. But, the last parts of the book had me teary eyed and sad that the book was done.
Ernest Hemingway fascinates me and even though it’s not an actual biography, I feel like I know the “why” behind his writing style.
Some quotes that struck me:
Happiness is so awfully complicated, but freedom isn’t. You’re either tied down or you’re not.
You have to digest life. You have to chew it up and love it all through. You have to live it with your eyes really. You can talk and talk and not get it right. You have to do it.
The worst events always have the thrust of accidents, as if they come out of nowhere. But that’s just lack if perspective.
You couldn’t have real freedom unless you knew where the walls were and tended to them. We could lean on the walls because they existed; they existed because we leaned on them.
We called Paris the great good place, then, and it was. We invented after all. We made it with our longing and cigarettes and Rhum St. James; we made it with smoke and smart and savage conversation and we dared anyone to say it wasn’t ours. Together we made everything and then we busted apart again.
There are some who said I should’ve fought harder or longer than I did for my marriage, but in the end fighting for a love that was already gone felt like trying to live in the ruins of a lost city. I couldn’t bear it, and so I backed away- and the reason I could do it all, the reason I was strong enough and had the legs and the heart to do it was because Ernest had come along and changed me. He helped me see what I really was and what I could do. Now that I knew what I could bear, I would have to bear losing him.