Monday, August 3, 2015

Kris's Mini Reviews

 The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 314

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. 

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for. 

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
I can't punish a book for not ending the way I wanted it to when it's a historically accurate book. Otherwise I'd have given it one star. 

Because while this book starts out amazing, the last half is very depressing. It took me to a dark place, this book.  

But it was really, really, really good. I just have no desire to ever read it again because of the sadness.  

Amazing writing though, and really interesting story. I learned a lot that I hadn't known about Ernest Hemingway and his contemporaries. So... yeah. Great book, great story, unfortunately accurately written about actual douchebags. 

 A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher
Publication Date: October 2, 2014
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Pages: 288

As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.
Ouch. I was pretty disappointed by this book. I LOVE Les Mis, and I think the idea of this book is fantastic. Great potential. Potential that was squandered. 

It was so repetitive. Over and over and over, the same things happened. By the 15th time Eponine decides to be "cruel from now on," I was bored. Her personality could have been so much more interesting, but it was so flat. What a bummer. 


You by Caroline Kepnes
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher:Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Pages: 422

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
3.5 stars. This book is like a train wreck. You just can't look away. It was a very compulsive read - I didn't want to put it down and every time I did I couldn't stop thinking about where the book would go next. 

Obviously it's not a super uplifting book, but I thought it was extremely well written. You can almost - ALMOST - empathize with Joe in certain parts, but mostly you're just struck with horror at this creepy, crazy guy. I mean wow. One thing is for sure - he was very dedicated.  

The ending wasn't too much of a surprise because really it couldn't have gone any other way. But it was well written and well done. I don't know that I would read this book again, but it was a fascinating one-time read.

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