‘The Paris Wife’ Taught Me That Toxic Relationships Are Not Worth My Time
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‘The Paris Wife’ Taught Me That Toxic Relationships Are Not Worth My Time

Their relationship was so out-of-balance, constantly tipped towards Ernest's side.

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‘The Paris Wife’ Taught Me That Toxic Relationships Are Not Worth My Time
Marie-Sophie Tekian

This book let me dive deep into the 20's - an era full of creative writers and the birth of jazz. The 20's are a time that we all hear about and some wish they lived in. Ernest Hemingway strolling the streets of Paris on his way to Gertrude Stein's flat to have his book critiqued - that's the image I get when I think of the 20's in Paris.

Anyway, this book put me into the shoes of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, also known as "The Paris Wife,' Hadley Richardson. The book is told through the first person point of view of Hadley as she stands by Ernest through thick and thin. She supports his creativity and does anything she can to keep him happy while he writes his novels and finds his place in the literary world. She deals with his underwhelming reaction to her pregnancy and his view of fatherhood taking away from his writing. Ernest isn't too happy to become a father, as it's just a roadblock in his career.

This book taught me a lot about relationships. Hadley bends herself backward to fulfill Ernest's needs. She does anything to make him happy, to a fault. Throughout the novel, she doesn't really seem to have a passion in life; she likes playing the piano but never takes it seriously. Her life revolves around her husband. Everything she does is with him in mind. His writing, his thoughts, and his social circle. She doesn't really have any of her own things. Hadley was just expected to be his loyal housewife, and she played the part perfectly. Their relationship was so out-of-balance, constantly tipped towards Ernest's side. Would he have done the same for her? Probably not.

Even though their marriage took place in the 1920's, this type of relationship still exists today. Some wives put their everything into their marriage and are still treated like dirt and get cheated on. It's not as common or as acceptable as it was back then, but it's sad that it still happens so often. While Ernest was with Hadley, he meets another woman who he starts seeing her secretly. Everyone in their social circle knew what was going on, embarrassing Hadley. His complete disregard for her happiness left me at a loss for words.

I'm just glad that the ending was a good one for Hadley - save for Ernest's suicide. He killed himself while married to his fourth (!!!) wife, who called Hadley to inform her that Ernest had taken his life. By this time, Hadley was remarried. After divorcing Ernest, she married a newspaper reporter and stayed with him for over thirty years, until he passed away.

The love that Hadley and Ernest had is considered a lovely one, but I think their relationship was so unhealthy. Sure, they lived during the Age of jazz and emerging writers, but Ernest wasn't a great man and he didn't treat the people in his life with respect, especially the ones who deserved it the most. In my opinion, Hadley shouldn't have put up with Ernest for as long as she did, but I'm glad she found someone else who made her happy in the end.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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