Who wrote this book and when?
Ernest Hemingway in 1929.

Has there been a film version?
Two – one in 1932 starring Gary Cooper and one in 1957 starring Rock Hudson.

Who are the main characters?
Frederic Henry – a young American ambulance driver who has enlisted in the Italian army during WWI
Catherine Barkley – a British nurse also serving in the war
Rinaldi – Henry’s room mate and sexually promiscuous friend

What’s it about?
Frederic Henry is serving for the Italian army in WWI fighting the Austrians in Italy. The story is about his experiences with the hopelessness of the war, as well as his transformation by an amorous relationship with the British nurse, Catherine Barkley.

Why is this book a classic?
It is called the best example of Hemingway’s signature brusque dialogue and prose style.

Why should I read this book?
I don’t know. I’m not a Hemingway person so I can’t recommend it.

Why did this book make your list?
It was assigned to me in one of my American Literature classes.

Has it won any awards?
No.

Favorite Quotes:
“I sat up and as I did so sometging inside my head moved like the weights on a doll’s eyes and it hit me inside on back of my eyeballs.” -p 55

“‘Now I am depressed myself,’ I said. ‘That’s why I never think about these things. I nver think and yet when I begin to talk I say the things I have found out in my mind without thinking.'” – p179

Anything else?
No, I don’t think so.

Personal Thoughts:
Let me just put this out on the table – I am not a Hemingway fan whatsoever. I know that Hemingway is a celebrity for his dialogue, it puts me to sleep. I know Hemingway is well-known for his succinct but ambitious descriptions – they don’t really inspire me. And I know Hemingway is revered for his ideal typical man. Who, frankly, I find the most unappealing sort of man to let into my life. All that said, I still read Hemingway. Not because I enjoy reading his work, because I don’t. But because I’ve taught myself somehow that by reading things I don’t enjoy or completely understand, my mind can be stretched. There. End of snobby lecture.

This book was assigned to me to read in college. I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp on what it was saying. The story is sad with some odd pacing concepts, and I never ever related to any of the characters. They annoyed me mostly. I didn’t enjoy this book. I didn’t feel like I gained anything from this book. In fact, every Hemingway story I have read has given me the feeling that I’m just missing some concept because everyone else says it is amazing and wonderful and earth shattering. Well, I looked it up on several well-respected book review and study sites and it turns out I wasn’t really missing anything. There was no big theme I wasn’t grasping. It was just an unfulfilling one to me. And I know that the only reason I re-read it was to be better reacquainted with a book I tried to expunge from my memory in order to do a book review. And because I wanted to make sure one last time that I am not a Hemingway fan.

Advertisements