Why I Hate Hemingway

I hate Hemingway. I just hate him. Well except for that one story “The Hills are Like White Elephants,” but I think it was because I was 14 and my reaction was “Wow, this dude can write a sentence.” Before that I also hated short stories.

I can acknowledge that Hemingway is a great writer, but I’ve never particularly liked him. Maybe it was the one futile attempt to read The Old Man and the Sea and finding it actually as boring as it sounded. Even all my wandering around Paris pretending to be a writer didn’t make me love him anymore and if anything would, I think it would be that.

What I do like about Hemingway seems even more irrational. The Bogie and Bacall film, To Have or Have Not, was based on one of his books and it inspired the scene in which Bacall states one of her most famous lines: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together–and blow.” I also love the print my mother has of Hemingway’s house in Cuba and I love that he supposedly drank Cuba Libres. I love that I can pretend to be part of my own lost generation and be as obnoxious an “artist” as he probably was. I love that I can kind of hate Hemingway for no particular reason and it always sparks an interesting conversation.

I also have to hate Hemingway’s blatant misogyny and despite that fact, he was a fucking great writer.

The real reason I hate Hemingway has nothing to do with anything really. I had bought a used copy of A Farewell to Arms, during my phase to attempt to read ALL American classics. About four tedious and boring pages in, I turned the page to find a smashed fly. The colors of the decay swirling with the ink, I knew I could never read the book. What better excuse than to hate Hemingway.


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