Book title: “The Sun Also Rises”
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre/Audience: Fiction; adult
Worth the read?: No.
Way back when I was just a wee freshman in college, I had to read A Farewell to Arms. I was not a fan of the book, but I thought perhaps it was just because I had to read it for an English class and then write a paper analyzing an aspect of the novel. So, when I decided to spend time reading a few classic novels this summer, I thought I’d give Ernest another shot.
Turns out, I really can’t stand him.
Since finishing The Sun Also Rises, multiple people have recommended that I give Hemingway one final shot by reading The Old Man and the Sea. Maybe I’ll read it in a few years, but for now, I’m done with him.
There are a lot of reasons that I’m not a fan of this book. First, the plot is drab and whiny (I felt that A Farewell to Arms was also quite whiny, though much less drab). I cannot stand any of the characters; not a single one of them was worth liking. They were all terrible people, which I suppose is kind of the point, but not being able to latch onto a single character in a favorable light makes for an incredibly frustrating read. The two main characters were just awful. Everyone was awful, and everyone was suffering from alcoholism and toxic masculinity. My skin was crawling the entire duration of the story.
I could have probably suffered through the plot and chalked it up to the culture that Hemingway was trying to portray (which, clearly, he has done well!), but my biggest problem with Hemingway isn’t his subject matter. It’s his writing.
People hail his writing as so simplistic, so innovative. Nobody writes sentences like Hemingway! He’s so brilliant! Ah, who would have thought that a million short sentences in a row could be so effective?!
No. No, no, no…no…no.
The constant run-on sentences strung together with comma splice after comma splice were utterly distracting. Short sentences my butt! Hemingway’s style is offensive to my eyes. It’s honestly a wonder I even finished the book.
In conclusion, this much I can say—I liked A Farewell to Arms far more. I can’t wait to never read Hemingway again. Ugh, I feel aggressive just thinking about him…
(Good news, the next blog post won’t be nearly as angry!)
Happy reading, friends!