Sunday, April 15, 2007

To Have and Have Not - Ernest Hemingway

The Basics: To Have and Have Not, Ernest Hemingway, 1937, 262 pages, paperback

How I found it: Greg bought this book at a local used bookstore and has never read it. I was out of books so I picked it up.

What's it about?: The protagonist, Henry lives in the Florida Keys and charters his boat to everyone from big game fishermen, to rum runners and human traffickers in pre-Castro Cuba. He is a family man and is just trying to keep his family from hunger during the Depression. Due to the company he keeps and the lawless nature of the Florida Keys, plenty of shenanigans ensue and Henry goes quickly from "having" to "having not".

Did I like it?: I'm not a huge Hemingway fan since he writes very masculine and macho stories. His portrayal of women is either non-existent or very misogynist. In this book he also comes across as racist. This book had some action-adventure type exciting bits, but besides that, I didn't find it that enjoyable. Henry is supposed to come off as a desperate character who will do almost anything to remain a sailor and provide for his family, but to me he seemed selfish and prone to taking unnecessary risks.

Will you like it?: If you are Hemingway fan, I suppose this is required reading. But if you haven't read any of his work I suggest you start with A Farewell to Arms or The Sun Also Rises. This is definitely a "man's book" and not one I would recommend.

But don't take my word for it: The usual product info from Amazon, a collection of reader reviews, the imdb page for the 1944 film of the same name starring Bogart which is only loosely based on the book, and the wikipedia entry are all I can find.

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