Everybody Behaves Badly

Lesley M.M. Blume

 

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First the good news: the book is well-researched and well written. If you have no knowledge of Hemingway and want to get a feel for how he worked and lived in Paris in the years leading up to the publication of his book The Sun Also Rises, this is a good book for you.

Then the bad news: I don’t understand the reason the author spent so much time and energy writing a book about a man she obviously despises. It is painful to read.

92 years ago, Hemingway thinly disguised real people and put their hijinks into a book. They are all dead, as is the world he wrote about. Why dig up all the dirt and rehash all Hemingway’s betrayals, small and large, and put them all together in a portrait that there is no need to read? By this time, we all know he was a drunk and a womanizer. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he wrote some of the most deathless prose that changed literature forever.

His work stands on its own. If we start judging writers on their personal lives, who can stand?

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