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August 07, 1976 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-08-07

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Page Six


Saturday, August 7, 1976

Papa' The real Hemingway

Gregory Hlemi-gway, M.D. Bos-
ton: Houghton Mifflin Co., 119 pp.,
Itl1T Il.EBRATEI) scenes des the
Ilemiagway Legend inmediately
pro(tmp? Perhaps, Hlemingway the Writ-
er sporting in Paris of the Twenties
with the I.ast Generation. Or llemingway
the Adventutrer running before the bulls
in the streets of Parmlona. Or Ileming-
way the exempilr of the male code of
"grnce under pressture" who defined
those quotities of courage nd beauty
which came to serve as models for a
Biiographies notwithtstanding, the man
seems to his admirers larger than life,
a kind of elemental presence, reassuring
and protective: Papa, strong and wise,
who blended experience and art so well.
Papa, who became wrapped in a myth,
as mtch the public's as his own inven-
tion, has for most of us been as large
and retote as a mountain.
Now, thanks to his family, we can
know him on more human terms. PAPA,
A Personal Memoir, is an extended rem-
iniscence by Gregory Hemingway, the
youngest of Ernest's three sons. It is, as
Norman Mailer says in an enthusiastic
puff, "unlike most books written by sons
about great fathers"; because it avoids
being a sentimental journey into an idyl-
lic boyhood, and because the relation-
ship is conveyed with refreshing hon-
esty, the father captured in his flawed
and engaging humanness, capable of
large kindness and lesser cruelty,
Gregory, now a physician living in
New York, gives a wonderfully illumina-
ting account of the pressures and joys
of growing up as the son of a famous
father. In 1940 when his parents were.
divorced, he and his brothers, Pat and
Jack, began spending their summers
with their father at his various retreats:
Bimini, Havana and Sun Valley.
whole, are painted in rather exces-
sively glowing strokes, it should be re-
membered that Hemingway was no or-
dinary man. During one summer he
offered the sum of one hundred dol-

lars to any Bimini native who could
endure three rounds of boxing with
him. Father and sons fished and snork-
led in the shallow Caribbean reefs, at-
tended Havana cockfights, and - in
the summer of 1943 - hunted Nazi sub-
marines, thought to be lurking in the
waters off Cuba. hemingway, with char-
acteristic boldness, ingenuity and fool-
harditess, decided he could blow up an
ecemy U-boat if he could get close
etuotgh to toss a bomb onto its conning
tower. Q'tixotic, yes, but Gregory loved
it, noting that "war is a great game
for kids."
The most moving episodes in the
book detaomstrate a fatherly care ex-
tended and filial love returned, a per-
fect attention to personal needs: Ilem-
ingwvay instructs his son in the fine
points of marksmanship, then watches
as he ties for the pigeon-shooting cham-
pionship of Cuba. Hemingway nurses his
young son through a serious illness, sit-
ting up with him at night, enthralling
him with stories of his boyhood up in
Michigan. Hemingway hoists Gregory
upon his broad shoulders and swims
away from three marauding sharks.
The admiration of a boy for his
father is qualified at intervals as Gre-
gory renders with surprising frankness
the occasional cruelty and meanness
that existed in the man. The manner
in which Hemingway made his succes-
sion of wives suffer - bedding admir-
ers, gin-drunk-raging, the periodic trade-
in on a woman who offered better pros-
pects as a wife - is a sobering perform-
ance which Gregory does not soften or
pardon. Nor does he downplay his fath-
er's megalomania, his vanity (Heming-
way always removed his glasses at the
approach of photographers), his outsized
machismo, and his huge capacity for
romantic absurdity.
THE BOOK becomes less interesting
when the focus shifts from the re-
lationship to the personality and affairs
of the son. Gregory grew up with the
thought of becoming a "Hemingway
hero," a sort of Nick Adams transport-
ed to the beaches of Bimini. He learned
to fish and shoot well enough and made
a valiant attempt at story-writing (Gre-
gory gamely confesses copying from Tur-
genev, and adopted much of his father's

over a hunting trophy in this 1930's shot, from the cover
new biography of his father.

APA, Gregory's

writing style. He hunted in Africa. His
account of a safari, with its understated,
spare phrasing, is so reminiscent of
Hemingway-senior, it might've been tak-
en from The Green Hills of Africa.
Gregory's constant intrusion of 'medi-
calese' as he very assiduously isolates
the physiological problems of his parents,
becomes at length a gratuitous exercise
- possibly an attempt to clear his con-
science of complicity in their deaths.
Hemingway's suicide is placed in a ra-
tional context and forgiven; it wasn't
mental illness but his enormous fear
of it that pulled the trigger: "He was
too much my father, a model, a whole
generation's model, and he thought he'd
fail those whom he had wanted so des-

perately to teach. He'd let tis down if
he went crazy. They said it was his
machismo. I think it deserves a nobler
word. His act of deception was as much
one of love as it was of pride."
Hemingway said it more simply: "If
I can't exist on my own terms, then
existence has no importance for me."
He could not accept frailty in others and
least of all in himself; he could not ac-
cept the erosion of his faculties with
age, could not, ironically, adhere to his
own code and grow old gracefully with-
in the insistent pressures of his own
lim Hill is a University student who
occasionally reviews books for The Daily.

Unlearning the pill-popping habit

New York; St. Martin's Press, Inc., 401 pp. $8.95.
N A TIME OF INCREASING cultural pressure for
drug usage as the solution to all of life's prob-
lems it's refreshing to see a member of the phar-
maceutical profession shunning the habit of recom-
mending a pill for every occasion. Joe Graedon, who
received his training in pharmacology at the Uni-
versity, shows himself to be a health professional -
not just a dispenser of medications - through his
cautions about drug usage, alternatives to prescrip-
tions and solutions to minor health problems, in
The People's Pharmacy.
Graedon's chapter entitled "Sexy -Trade Secrets
and Home Remedies" gives relief to one of the most
plaguing problems of OTC (over-the-counter) medica-
tion-advertising- In his tongue-in-cheek manner, the
author liberates us from years of sixty-second procla-
mations viewed between scenes of Monday Night at
the Movies, when he comments on that favorite re-
lief for hemorrhoids:
Just in case you have been sitting on the edge
of your seat all these years wondering what was in
Preparation H, the 1973 edition of the Handbook of
Non-Prescription Drugs reports the following: an anti-
septic, two thousand units of 'skin respiratory factor'
obtained from -live yeast cell derivative,' (who knows

what that is for) along with 3 per cent shark liver
oil which, though it may be a source of vitamins A
and D, hardly seems very useful for hemorrhoids.
THE PRIMARY emphasis of The People's Phar-
macy is on the patient/consumer's right to con-
trol his/her own body. To this end the author acts
as an advocate, educator, and (self-denied) alarmist
in warning the medical consumer of over-dosage prob-
lems, adverse reactions, drug interactions and vari-
ous side-effects of many drugs. He also pursues these
roles in an excellent chapter on saving money in the
prescription drug market, including a list of generic
equivalents of particular interest to Michigan con-
sumers since the passage last year of the generic
drug law allowing a pharmacist to substitute equiva-
lent drugs for brand name ones.
Graedon's book joins such works as Richard Bu-
rack's The New Handbook of Prescription Drugs (Bal-
lantine Books, 1975) and Prescription Drugs and Their
Side Effects, by Edward Stern (Grosset and Dunlap,
1975) in a new effort to educate medical consumers
on what to expect from the drugs they are using.
The People's Pharmacy, however, surpasses its fore-
runners by not only pointing out the faults of the
medical-pharmaceutical coalition, but by also offer-
ing alternatives to prescription treatment. Studies
which show Darvon (the number-three selling drug
in the U.S. in 1974) less effective in the treatment
of pain than plain aspirin and deodorant soaps dan-

gerous because of their ability to kill nonpathogenic
micro-organisms which are essential to body functions,
all make Joe Graedon's book an unusual one.
His advocacy of Vitamin C as a cure of, and pro-
phylactic for the common cold is sure to bring fire
from those we have already heard on that subject.
But, as Graedon points out, all the research in many
areas has not been done. -
made in the book are the use of meat tenderizer
as a cure for the pain of a bee sting, and a teaspoon-
ful of sugar to alleviate hiccups. Both, I'm sure, will
cause many medical "experts" to proclaim The Peo-
ple's Pharmacy a return to "witch-doctoring" and
superstitions; but the home remedies set forth are
backed, at the least, by medical studies.
Herein lies the beauty of Joe Graedon. He's pre-
sented us with a pharmacist's point of view on con-
troversial subjects many consumers may not have
been aware of; but at the same time, he's asked us
- even implored us - to use our own judgments
in treatment of our bodily ailments.
In his afterword, Joe Graedon says simply, "Writ-
ing this book has been a gas." What's amazing is
that reading it has also been a gas, which is the
highest praise I can think of for a book on phar-
David Pioniko sky is an LSA senior with previows
experience at the Consumer Action Center downtown.

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