Last month I visited the Hemingway Home and Museum in gorgeous Key West, Florida.
I started in Miami, drove through the Keys over two days, and spent my last two nights in Key West—the whole trip planned around winding up here. The house and property were amazing, and the journey there wasn’t bad either ☀️🌊
There are myriad cool stories and legends associated with this house, like:
Hemingway wrote some of his best received work while living here, including the 1935 non-fiction Green Hills of Africa, and the 1936 short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”
The swimming pool on the property cost $20,000 when built in 1938—an equivalent of $330,000 now—and was the first swimming pool in Key West
The ~50 cats that live on the property! About half have thumbs and extra digits, but they all carry the polydactyl gene even if they have the normal amount of toes. Some are allegedly descended from Hemingway’s polydactyl cat Snow White (or Snowball, in some accounts)
The fountain base that used to be a urinal, taken by Hemingway and friends from a nearby bar
Hemingway allegedly chose the house because it’s across the street from the lighthouse (the tallest structure on the island) so he could more easily find his way home from the bars
Hemingway’s writer’s retreat with the actual typewriter he used
The gist: A high schooler who loves to rap ultimately tries to make it as a rapper to help save her family.
The tea: I love Angie Thomas’s writing.
So far, I’ve only read The Hate U Give and this one, but Concrete Rose is up next, and I’m excited to read anything else she puts out.
Her characters and dialogue are so real that you feel like you’re popping in on actual conversations. Not only that, but her stories show an American experience that not everyone shares, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from her books.
In On the Come Up, high schooler Bri loves to rap. She deals with racism at school, family drama, and eventually the threat of extreme poverty that causes her to try to make it as a rapper to help her family. On top of that, she’s got normal teenager stuff going on, like crushes on boys and the pressure of getting into college.
Something I really liked was getting to see the thought process behind Bri’s freestyles, seeing her quickly transform her scattered thoughts into the sick burns she throws at her opponent.
The wrap-up: Great author, great book. Read all her stuff.
The rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 /5
I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter what I do. I’ll still be whatever people think I am.
The low lands call I am tempted to answer They are offering me a free dwelling Without having to conquer The massive mountain makes its move Beckoning me to ascend A much more difficult path To get up the slippery bend I cannot choose both I have a choice to make I must be wise This will determine my fate I choose, I choose the mountain With all its stress and strain Because only by climbing Can I rise above the plain I choose the mountain And I will never stop climbing I choose the mountain And I shall forever be ascending I choose the mountain