Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Hadley Richardson was Hemingway’s starter wife and they divorced after seven years of marriage and one child. Hadley was frumpy and domestic and she married Hemingway when she almost 30 and he was only 21. They seem mismatched from the start though you do get the sense that Hemingway, fresh from WWI, needed nurturing and Hadley was a nurturer. The book covers Ernest and Hadley’s years together and ends when he leaves Hadley for wife #2 (with a short epilogue that tells us that Hadley later found happiness with a man who was far more reliable than Ernest). Even though this is a novel it apparently sticks closely to the facts and uses characters’ real names.
It’s the atmosphere that makes this book fun to read, in the same way that Midnight in Paris was fun to watch even though the premise was just dumb. I pictured all the characters in the book as they looked in the movie. Thus in my head Gertrude Stein looked like Kathy Bates, and the Fitzgeralds looked like those two lovely actors whose picture I’ve posted on my Pinterest board. Unfortunately there wasn’t complete overlap and the movie never shows Ernest with Hadley. Nevertheless I pictured her looking like Mariel Hemingway, whose real-life grandmother was Hadley Richardson.
(Book 32, 2011)