The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain

Title:  The Paris Wife: A Novel 
Author:  Paula McLain
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Released Date:  2012
Pages:  352
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
About the Author:  


Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurses aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress--before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996. Since then, she has received fellowships from the corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book of poetry, Less of Her, was published in 1999 from New Issues Press and won a publication grant from the Greenwall Fund of the Academy of American Poets. She's also the author of a second collection of poetry, Stumble, Gorgeous, a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up In Other People's Houses, and the novel, A Ticket to Ride. Her most recent book is The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage and upstart years in 1920's Paris, as told from the point of view of his wife, Hadley. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College, and lives with her family in Cleveland.

WC's Review:  Hadley Richardson is Ernest Hemingway's first of four wives and would have been his only wife had the famous author had any sense. But ambitious Hemingway agreeably gets caught up in the thrilling but transparent lifestyle of romantic intellectual Paris in the twenties where, after the horrors of the Great War, anything goes with anybody. Unfortunately, so does sensible Hadley, who grudgingly becomes an enabler.
The booze and the glamour overcome the author, and he succumbs to the false allure of cads and vamps whose only worth serves as characters in his first and best novel, The Sun Also Rises.
Hadley is a devoted wife and mother, but allows herself to participate in relationships that destroy her marriage. Perhaps she is better off without him.