The rest of my review will contain spoilers, because I think I might be the last person on earth to read this book, but here are some random thoughts.
- Good GOD did Lt. Henry like to drink. So did most everyone in the book, for that matter.
- I need to get me one of those relatives who will let me write bank drafts to fund my lifestyle.
- I wanted to slap Catherine throughout most of the book. She was the biggest doormat ever, and I don't recall her standing up for herself even once in the book, except maybe to assert her decision to get married only after she was thin again.
- The war scenes in this book were thankfully nondescript. I appreciate that Hemingway didn't get into the grisly details of the war. Then again, Hemingway doesn't go into details about anything, so this shouldn't be a surprise. I was thankful that i didn't have to read about a lot of gore, missing limbs, etc. I'm not a fan of war stories for this reason.
- I didn't fully understand what was going on in the war. This is probably my fault because history and geography are my two worst subjects. A decent knowledge base in both would have been helpful, I think, for me to understand the tactical and strategic parts of the war. I was mostly lost until I realized that the Italians were going to shoot him because they thought he was a German wearing an Italian uniform, or because they thought he was an officer who abandoned his regiment. See - still confused.
- The ending of this book sucked. Thanks to The Husband spoiling it for me years ago, I knew basically what happened, but there were so many loose ends that weren't tied up. What happened to the priest? Did Rinaldi have syphilis or not? Maddening. And then, (spoiler alert) to kill off Catherine and the baby like that and just abruptly end the book with Lt. Henry lost and alone in Switzerland? Maddening. The Husband says that's just classic Hemingway.
Grade: Overall, I'm giving it a C. But only because it's Hemingway; his fame makes me want to boost his grade a little. If some unknown author had written it, I don't think I'd have gotten past page two.