Review: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Review: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

This book should be called A Farewell to Commas, because holy run-on sentences‼️

(Just working on my literature-based standup. But really, sometimes it’s too much; there’s one sentence in this book that uses “and” 22 TIMES 😵‍💫)

I got this book at the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West last year and am only just getting around to reading it—which kind of worked out great, because I read War and Peace last year, and this was like War and Peace Lite.

All the war, one-fifth the page count.

A bleak tale about war and loss, this novel is based on Hemingway’s real-life experience as an ambulance driver and medic in the Italian army during WWI.

It’s also based on his real-life experience falling in love with an English nurse during the war. And, as I learned on my tour of the Hemingway home, IRL his nurse left him for another man, so he got revenge the best way writers know how: he killed her off in his book.

(Sorry, are spoilers a thing for 93-year-old novels? 😬)

A Farewell to Arms is an unflinching depiction of the horrors of war that likely was much needed in 1929 when people couldn’t see the harsh realities of it daily on TV. And Hemingway’s writing is almost timeless, because his language is too clear, straightforward, and simple to be dated.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐.5/5

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.

—Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
My trip to the Hemingway House

My trip to the Hemingway House

Last month I visited the Hemingway Home and Museum in gorgeous Key West, Florida.

I started in Miami, drove through the Keys over two days, and spent my last two nights in Key West—the whole trip planned around winding up here. The house and property were amazing, and the journey there wasn’t bad either ☀️🌊

There are myriad cool stories and legends associated with this house, like:

Hemingway wrote some of his best received work while living here, including the 1935 non-fiction Green Hills of Africa, and the 1936 short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.

The swimming pool on the property cost $20,000 when built in 1938—an equivalent of $330,000 now—and was the first swimming pool in Key West.

The ~50 cats that live on the property! About half have thumbs and extra digits, but they all carry the polydactyl gene even if they have the normal amount of toes. Some are allegedly descended from Hemingway’s own polydactyl cat Snow White (or Snowball, some say) given to him by a ship’s captain. (Apparently thumb-cats were preferred as ship’s cats back in the day because they have better balance than regular cats and are better climbers 👍)

The fountain base that used to be a urinal, taken by Hemingway and friends from a nearby bar.

Hemingway allegedly chose the house because it’s across the street from the lighthouse (the tallest structure on the island) so he could more easily find his way home from the bars. I see a theme here.

Hemingway’s writer’s retreat with the actual typewriter he used.

Cool house, cooler history, highly recommend.

Visit the Hemingway Home & Museum site for more info 🐈