Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hemingway is a legend in many respects, whether his stories about himself and his life experiences were self-promoted or grew from zealous marketing for his writing. Either way, the truth comes out about his years as an American expat in Everybody Behaves Badly documenting his time in Paris, how he created The Sun Also Rises and the backlash from his friends and acquaintances in Paris and other European locales.
Most of the book is about the real-life accounts of Hemingway's time in Paris with his first wife Hadley. These moments help to shape Hemingway as a writer and to give him some of the first hints of grandeur that would later become a huge part of his legend. It isn't so much about the novel itself, but the events that happened that led him to write his novel.
I found it interesting that Hemingway found camaraderie and mentorship from the in crowd of American expats in and around Paris at the time, but I'm disheartened that he had to go crawling to the likes of Gertrude Stein in order to get a foot in. Of course, as quickly as her help is given, Hemingway distances himself from her and openly mocks her self-proclaimed importance.
It's fun to read about their time in Europe, although it makes you sad if you are a writer or artist. While living the poverty-stricken Bohemian life is all part of paying your dues for your craft, there are very few places left in the world that takes artists in like that and nurture them with experience. Most of the places today where the writers, artists, and musicians want to be (and need to be) are starting to price out anyone on the lower end of a six-figure salary—forget the starving artists.
With plenty of sources and even an epilogue that let's readers know where all of the cast of characters ended up after the wrath of Hemingway, this book is a great source for learning more about Hemingway's early career.
*Received a copy of this book through NetGalley
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