Everyone Behaved Badly by Lesley M. M. Blume

I'm something of a Hemingway whore. I came to this state of "being" because I was and am a F. Scott Fitzgerald whore as well. With the exception Shakespeare, there is no one that writes a more beautiful sentence. I will go to the mattresses on this one. Fitzgerald goes in and out of fashion. I don't know where he is these days, but he's one hell of a writer. And although I think he became the mouthpiece of a generation, this wasn't so much the man as the writing. In some ways, Hemingway was the opposite. He began as Fitzgerald, a writer who spoke to a generation, but at some point the man began to outshine the writer. Blume has done a masterful job is exposing the man before he became cover photo on Life magazine.

I've read several biographies of both men. Indeed, it's a little embarrassing HOW many books on these two men and their satellites I do own biographies on the ex-wives, the Murphys, etc.). So you'd think this book would just be rehash. It is in some ways, but I also think that it offers enormously valuable insight into the psyche of Hemingway and the man he will become. As his fame grew, his charm began to fade in direct proportion, and his pathology and narcissism began to dominate. It's all there: the ruthlessness, the jealousy, and the real cruelty that lurked beneath the shy exterior. By focusing on one book and the devastating effect its publication had on the real people populating this novel, we come to appreciate Hemingway's truly cut-throat approach to writing that will appear in future novels. No one was immune.

Blume deftly weaves in the events and denizens of the ex-pat community flooding into Paris in the 1920s. I enjoyed this book very much, and I recommend it to anyone looking for additional insight into Hemingway's psyche as both a writer and a man.

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LINKS

Debris and Detritus (available in trade paperback and ebook formats).

Pen and Prejudice (available in trade paperback and ebook formats).

Roux Morgue (available in hard cover, trade paperback, audio, and ebook formats)

Beat Until Stiff (available in trade paperback, audio, and ebook formats)

Poisoned Pen Press

Mystery Writers of America

Sisters in Crime Northern California Chapter

Independent American Booksellers Association

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