Hem in Love . . .

hem in love cover

Hemingway in Love: His Own Story by A.E. Hotchner

St. Martin’s Press

October 20, 2015

192 print pages

I just read 95-year-old A.E. Hotchner’s book entitled Hemingway in Love: His Own Story. This just released short book was a quick read for me as I enjoy Hotch’s writing style and hang on his every Hemingway word. Why? Because he was a very good friend of Hemingway’s and that point really cannot be disputed. Hemingway invited Hotchner on many a journey and obviously Hem did not suffer fools, so what Hotch says matters. I have previously read four of Hotchner’s books starting with Papa Hemingway, then his autobiographical books, King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles, next Paul and Me (about his friendship with Paul Newman), and lastly Everyone Comes to Elaine’s. Hotchner has written two other books on Hemingway, but I have not yet gotten around to reading them (there are so many Hem books to read). All together, Hotchner has written 18 books on a variety of subjects.

hem and hotch

–AP file photo of Hotchner and Hemingway

This book re-emphasized Ernest’s realization that his first wife, Hadley, was the love of his life and that he made a terrible mistake by letting Pauline Pfieffer into his life at all. As in most books about Hemingway, Pauline is not a sympathetic character. Pauline ingratiated herself with Hadley first, then Hemingway, and there was no stopping her in her quest to become the next Mrs. Hemingway. She is such a paradox as she did not mind sleeping with someone else’s husband and breaking up a marriage, but insisted on getting married in the Catholic Church and converting Ernest. Such hypocrisy. I always think of that short but sweet quote, “If they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you.” And he did.

Hotchner claims that the last time Ernest saw Hadley was in Paris at a restaurant. All the biographies say Ernest saw Hadley on another occasion when he was in Wyoming and ran into her and her second husband, Paul Mowrer. So I can always understand the scholars weariness of Hotchner. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this short and sweet book about Hem’s regret and realizations.

As everyone does, Pauline had some good qualities, and unfortunately her viewpoint on her marriage and how she won over Ernest from Hadley will never really be known. In the newest version of The Green Hills of Africa, parts of her diary are published, but she and Ernest were already married and on safari due to her Uncle Gus’ financing of the trip. More on this HERE. I have yet to read either version of The Green Hills of Africa.

Oh, well. I don’t believe Pauline was ever really happy. She died 10 years before Hemingway.


  7 comments for “Hem in Love . . .

  1. Marianne
    October 29, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    Will order it today.

    • October 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      It is a really quick read, Marianne. But I enjoyed it . . .

  2. elizabeth
    October 29, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    Short, good review. Per Hotchner and Pauline, I recommend reading Valerie Hemingway’s memoir, Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways.

    • October 29, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      Thanks, E. I have read Running but don’t remember specifics . . .

      • elizabeth
        October 29, 2015 at 12:34 PM

        Give it another go — first-hand perspectives on Hotch and Pauline.

  3. November 3, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    I heard this interview yesterday on Hotch regarding the book. Found it fascinating.

    • November 4, 2015 at 6:08 AM

      Thank you so much for the link, dlafaire! I thoroughly enjoyed this longer, interesting interview via an enthusiastic host who appreciates Hem and Hotch.

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