Monday, January 16, 2012

The Paris Wife

I love a long holiday weekend. As of lately, I've started enjoying quiet afternoons relaxing on the couch under a blanket, reading a good book. As I mentioned a few posts back, I recently joined a book club, so this group has been keeping me accountable in actually reading for pleasure--not a usual choice for me. 

Our current book choice: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Plot: Without giving away too much, this book documents the courtship and marriage of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. 

While I'm not even halfway through the book yet, so much of it has already struck me really hard. Whenever I read anything, I automatically look for ways to relate what I'm reading to my own life, even if that just means finding parallels between a character's actions, feelings, emotions, or thoughts and those noticed or experienced in my own life. The portrayal of Hadley definitely brings to mind lessons I've learned and people I've known. Just reading her thoughts and wonderings about her relationship with Ernest makes me want to stop her. But then, when is attraction or love logical? It makes us do crazy things and doesn't let us think straight.

During a portion of the book, Hadley is discussing with a friend, like all girls do, what to do about Ernest. It's one of those times when a serious DTR (define-the-relationship) discussion with the guy is needed, but all you have is your friends to analyze the situation way too much.

Excerpt from Chapter 7, page 49 of The Paris Wife:
   "I think I'm too old to fall in love sometimes." I said to Ruth one afternoon. We sat in my room on the bed, a plate of tea biscuits between us, while outside it snowed like it might never stop.
   "You're too old--or he's too young?"
   "Both," I said. "In a way he's lived more than I have, and he's certainly had more excitement. But he can be awfully romantic and naive too. Like this business with Agnes. She did break his heart, I believe that full well, but he carries it around like a wounded child."
   "That's not very fair, Hadley. You suffered over Harrison Williams, didn't you?"
   "I did. Oh, Ruth." I put my head in my hands. "I don't know what's gotten into me. I think I'm just afraid." 
   "Of course you are," she said gently. "If you honestly think he's too young for you, all right then, make your decision and stick to it."
   "Do you think I'll stop worrying when I know he loves me for sure?"
   "Just listen to yourself."
   "There's so much to lose."
   "There always is," she said.
   I sighed and reached for another biscuit. "Are you always this wise, Ruth?"
   "Only when it comes to other people's lives."

Isn't that the truth for every woman? We're so great at giving advice to each other and seeing a situation clearly. But when it comes to our own predicaments, we allow our hearts and emotions, rather than our heads, to lead our decisions. At least, we're prone to that course of action--no matter how much common sense and life experience we have. It's part of being a girl I suppose. Furthermore, even if we don't act upon our emotions, there's no denying that we think about it.

Anyway, I just had to share...because I'm a girl. Back to my book. :)

Ernest Hemingway & Hadley


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