ERNEST HEMINGWAY by Richard B. Lyttle


The Life and the Legend
Age Range: 12 - 15
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 In tedious, anecdotal fashion, Lyttle delivers a broadside against Hemingway's Tough Guy image rather than discussing the relationship between his life and work. In Lyttle's view, Hemingway was undeniably courageous-- actively seeking out dangerous situations as sportsman and war correspondent--but also brutal, vain, petty and physically awkward. His narrative is one long digest of names, hunting and fishing tallies (``They saw deer, flushed many flocks of partridge, and even scared up a bear...they caught 64 trout...he crept to within 350 yards before killing the oldest animal with one shot,'' etc., etc.), repetitious travelogues, illnesses, clumsy accidents, and Papa's cutting comments about wives, friends, and fellow authors. Some incidents have a slapstick element--Hemingway once reached for a toilet chain and pulled a skylight down on his head--and Lyttle makes occasional wry comments (``Ernest...entertained...with elaborate stories of past adventures which were often partly true''); but readers will bog down in details, getting little sense of what Hemingway's books are like, or even what they're about. Wait for a more balanced student biography, or steer readers to Anthony Burgess's Ernest Hemingway and His World (1978) or to Rovit and Brenner's Ernest Hemingway (1986). Bibliography; b&w photos and index not seen. (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-689-31670-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992