Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life

Overview

An introduction to the life and work of one of the most significant and notorious American writers of the 20th century.

Ernest Hemingway's literary status alone makes him worthy of a biography. In addition, his life reads like a suspense story—it's full of action, romance, heartbreak, machismo, mishaps, celebrity, and tragedy. He had first-hand experience of several historic events of the last century, and he rubbed elbows with many other notable writers and intellectual greats ...

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Overview

An introduction to the life and work of one of the most significant and notorious American writers of the 20th century.

Ernest Hemingway's literary status alone makes him worthy of a biography. In addition, his life reads like a suspense story—it's full of action, romance, heartbreak, machismo, mishaps, celebrity, and tragedy. He had first-hand experience of several historic events of the last century, and he rubbed elbows with many other notable writers and intellectual greats of our time. Though his reputation has weathered ups and downs, his status as an American icon remains untouchable. Here, in the only biography available to young people, Catherine Reef introduces readers to Hemingway's work, with a focus on his themes and writing styles and his place in the history of American fiction, and examines writers who influenced him and those he later influenced.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[A] perceptive, captivating biography of one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers. . . . Teens jaded by too much classroom analysis of The Old Man and the Sea and Hemingway’s short stories will come away from Reef’s thorough, skillfully constructed biography with fresh interest in and appreciation for this American legend.”—Booklist, STARRED review

“Reef creates a memorable portrait of the writer and his times, and even readers too young for most of Hemingway’s oeuvre will enjoy armchair traveling to the bullfights in Spain. . . . Along the way, they will gain a sense of the writer and his times and will even pick up some writing tips, including Hemingway’s insistence on simple, declarative sentences. The volume is attractively designed with well-chosen photographs, captions that add personality to the text, solid documentation and judicious use of quotations.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This engaging and detailed biography will be valued for its accessible style and honest portrayal of one of America's icons. Reef's account of Hemingway's life is riveting and unglamorized.”—School Library Journal

“An accessible and entertaining look at an American icon.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
The fascinating life and complex personality of Ernest Hemingway (1899 to 1961) unfold through the lucid and intelligent prose and carefully selected photographs and pictures of this book. Reef recounts his life with specific events and shows how those events had an influence on what and how Hemingway chose to write. The reader feels the excitement of battles and bullfights. Reef avoids being judgmental as she places Hemingway within the context of the time period, and presents his interpersonal relationships and his battles with alcoholism and depression. Reef includes an eye-popping quote from the main character in To Have and Have Not and goes on to say that with the publication of that book "Hemingway would achieve the freedom of language he had long sought." Aspiring young writers and students who are reading and studying Hemingway will gain valuable insight from this thoughtfully written biography. The considerable backmatter attests to the veracity of this biography. There are extensive notes that include the citations for the quotes in each chapter; there is a five-page selected bibliography; a listing of Hemingway's major works; picture credits; and an index. It is highly recommended. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
Library Journal
In this Junior Library Guild selection, Reef, who has previously written over 40 nonfiction books for YA audiences, tackles one of the 20th century's most significant writers, proficiently weaving together key moments in Hemingway's career and personal life. YA listeners new to Hemingway will be enthralled not only by Reef's accounts of his literary accomplishments, travels, and adventures but also by her exploration of his darker side; more mature audiences, while sure to appreciate Reef's simple, direct writing style and Jill Shellabarger's (Sabrina) timeless narration, may be annoyed by the defining of such basic words and terms as jaundice, aficionado, and Madison Square Garden. Mainly for YA audiences.—Theresa Stoner, St. Joseph Cty. P.L., South Bend, IN
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—This engaging and detailed biography will be valued for its accessible style and honest portrayal of one of America's icons. Reef's account of Hemingway's life is riveting and unglamorized, acknowledging the subject's flaws and tenuous relationship with his stern, pious mother (who regularly banned books and challenged her son's seventh-grade assignment, The Call of the Wild, for its coarseness). At 17, Hemingway volunteered for the Red Cross as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I. Returning home wounded provided fodder for the short story "Soldier's Home" and made Hemingway realize he wouldn't stay home for long. Europe energized the budding writer and with the first of his four wives, he returned to Paris and Italy. Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, and Ezra Pound provided friendship and support for his writing. Hemingway was a romantic and unfaithful in marriage, and followed in his father's footsteps by committing suicide in 1961. Captioned black-and-white photos appear on nearly every page, chronicling Hemingway's family, friends, and the places he traveled. Some excerpts of his writing are integrated into the narrative, offering readers a good sense of the work's conception and structure.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Opening with a vivid description of bullfights in Pamplona, which Hemingway saw as "death struggle raised to an art," and concluding with Hemingway's own death struggle in 1961, Reef creates a memorable portrait of the writer and his times, and even readers too young for most of Hemingway's oeuvre will enjoy armchair traveling to the bullfights in Spain, fishing expeditions to the Dry Tortugas and the Marquesas Keys, big-game hunting on the Serengeti and covering the Spanish Civil War. Along the way, they will gain a sense of the writer and his times and will even pick up some writing tips, including Hemingway's insistence on simple, declarative sentences. The volume is attractively designed with well-chosen photographs, captions that add personality to the text, solid documentation and judicious use of quotations-some peppered with strong language-to help tell the story of this complex man. Accessible to young readers but most useful to teens as they begin to read Hemingway's greatest works. (source notes, bibliography, list of major works, picture credits) (Biography. 10 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618987054
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 742,725
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Reef is the author of more than 35 nonfiction books for young people. Her books for Clarion include the highly acclaimed John Steinbeck and Sigmund Freud which was the recipient of the 2002 Sydney Taylor Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. She lives in College Park, Maryland.

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