I finally can say I have read Hemingway. Yes, I read Old Man and the Sea in High School, and hated it. But that was many years ago, and I don't believe you can rule out any author by a High School exposure. Not to mention that it was over 20 years ago.
Even with that said, I probably would have been happy to put off Hemingway for another few years. I hated Old Man that much. But, since there is such a strong connection between Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and there seems to be such a divide between people who love Hemingway and people who love Fitzgerald, I felt obligated to read something by him sooner rather than later.
The story I chose to read was A Farewell to Arms.
My impression after reading it? Well, I am still in the Fitzgerald camp. I didn't hate it as much as Old Man, but I was very tired of the word fine by the time I got done with the story.
I can see the appeal of his writing and I see how people who love Hemingway can find Fitzgerald flowery, but in the end I prefer the romantic nature of Fitzgerald work.
I still want to read the books where Hemingway belittles Fitzgerald, I think it is only right for me to include those stories. But, I am not in a hurry.
I have always felt that Hemingway is a man's writer, so I would be interested to hear from the women who love his work. What is it that appeals to you?