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Everybody’s Talking About Cockeyed Happy!


“In Cockeyed Happy: Ernest Hemingway's Wyoming Summers With PaulineMountain Living editor-in-chief Darla Worden takes us inside the little-known details of the six summers Hemingway spent in Wyoming between 1928 and 1939. These were adventuresome times for the then-ascendant writer, an avid outdoorsman who reveled in hunting, fishing, and horseback riding through the spectacular landscapes. They were also extremely productive times, as the anonymity of rural Wyoming allowed Hemingway to work uninterrupted on such masterpieces as A Farewell to Arms and Death in the Afternoon.

For all its high-spirited anecdotes of the game Hemingway hunted and the cars he crashed, Cockeyed Happy is also the slow burning story of a doomed marriage… Pfeiffer gave up everything to be with Hemingway—her journalism career, her friends, her Catholic convictions—and in the end, lost everything when Hemingway left her for Martha Gellhorn.”

—Esquire, “Cockeyed Happy Offers a Look Inside Ernest Hemingway's Summers in Wyoming” |  September 14, 2021

“Worden, editor in chief of Mountain Living magazine, sheds light on Ernest Hemingway’s relationship with Pauline Pfeiffer, who Worden calls “the invisible wife,” in her immersive debut. Worden “drew on their correspondence to re-create their story in their words,” she writes, and opens in 1928, a year after the couple married, with Hemingway as an adventurer and Pfeiffer as a woman who didn’t want to change his ways. Hemingway was fond of Pfeiffer’s wealth and career at Vogue, though her life became defined by her status as Hemingway’s wife, and by the late 1930s the relationship began to erode as Hemingway moved on to a new relationship with another young journalist. Though the focus is on Hemingway’s interactions with women, Worden also surveys his reaction to reviews (when To Have and Have Not was released, he “knew” critics would dislike that he was “snooty”), his penchant for writing about Pfeiffer’s less attractive traits (as in his story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” about a bickering couple), and his love of hunting. Worden interjects some surprising asides (such as a list of “What Ernest Loved About Pauline”), and an “Author’s Method” note explaining her technique rounds things out. For readers interested in a lesser-known aspect of Hemingway’s life, this is worth a look.”

—Publisher’s Weekly review | August 2021

“Is there anything more to be written about Ernest Hemingway? Well, yes. Denver author Darla Worden has put together an enticing story of Hemingway’s summers in Wyoming with his second wife, Pauline. Through a series of vignettes, Worden recounts the arc of their marriage, from the birth of their first son through divorce, when Hemingway fell in love with another woman…. ‘Cockeyed Happy’ is not only a look into a famous marriage, but it’s also a lot of fun to read.”

—Denver Post review | October 19, 2021

“In alternating chapters to accommodate Ernest, Pauline, and their close friends’ thoughts and correspondence, Worden effortlessly weaves in Wyoming’s history, critics’ reviews, transcontinental travel, and the tension in the marriage as Ernest’s restless nature leads him into the arms of yet another woman. Thoroughly engaging with an eye for details, Cockeyed Happy is refreshing and revealing and the purest reflection of Worden’s decades-long curiosity with Hemingway.

BigLife “Hit List” | Fall 2021

“Cockeyed happy” is how writer Ernest Hemingway described the anticipation of second wife Pauline Pfeiffer’s arrival when she joined him in Wyoming in 1928, and where they spent six summers together through 1939. It’s also the title of a new book by Denver-based writer and editor Darla Worden, published by Chicago Review Press. The little-known story of those six summers sheds light on Hemingway’s process and mindset through the different phases of his writing and the evolution of his marriage.”

—Colorado Expression | September 2021

Cockeyed Happy often reads like a novel, and Worden puts herself in the minds of her subjects.”

—Jackson Hole News & Guide | October 6, 2021

“A stirring story that not only highlights an aspect of the famous novelist’s private life, but acts as travelogue through parts of the West. Cockeyed Happy is a moving and somewhat troubling tale about a woman devoted to a brilliant, but restless man who would eventually leave her for another woman.”

—Cowgirl | January/February 2022

“A welcome addition to the seemingly bottomless well of Hemingway studies—one that provides unique insight into the life of the iconic author... In forthright journalistic prose, Worden gives us a Pauline who earns our interest and empathy, and through the lens of her love, gives us a Hemingway who is more vulnerable and knowable than his myth.”

—Big Sky Journal | Fly Fishing 2022

"With the newly published Cockeyed Happy, Darla Worden offers [Hemingway Society] Conference attendees the definitive guide to Papa’s dog days in the Equality State. This authoritative look at Hemingway’s underappreciated love of Wyoming is a Must Read."

—The Hemingway Newsletter, Darla Worden Q&A | No. 74, 2022


"Streamlined and impacting, Darla Worden's Cockeyed Happy could be construed as a narrative of the author himself, a compelling account of Hemingway's summers in Wyoming—and I can think of no finer compliment."

—Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries

“What you didn’t learn in the recent PBS three-part documentary about Ernest Hemingway and his years with his second wife, Pauline, you will learn in Darla Worden’s Cockeyed Happy—and more!  This is a story of romance, adventure, anger and regret, told with intimate and compelling detail.   It’s a provocative read.”

—Lee Gutkind, Author of MY LAST EIGHT THOUSAND DAYS.

“Darla Worden’s Cockeyed Happy, about Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline, portrays not only a marriage but also a landscape rarely examined in his life and work. Worden briskly and engagingly conveys how the hunting grounds and fishing streams of rugged Wyoming shaped Hemingway’s writing life, burnished friendships, and backdropped this not-forever-happy relationship.”

—Steve Paul, author of Hemingway at Eighteen

Cockeyed Happy is an exuberant and forthright account of a far-too-underappreciated period of Hemingway's life.  Darla Worden's affection for her subjects and their surroundings is irresistible.”

—Craig Boreth, author of The Hemingway Cookbook

Darla Worden has written a captivating book that reads like a novel yet is thoroughly researched with factual attention to detail. As someone totally familiar with the area, Worden provides new insights into why Hemingway found Wyoming a place to work hard and play hard. Her descriptions of time and place resemble a travelogue that makes you want to experience the area for yourself, despite the changes since Hemingway’s time. Worden has created an interesting framework to propel readers through the book, including a series of short vignettes, rather than traditional chapters, and an extremely clever literary device for following the breakdown of the relationship between Ernest and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Her book is a refreshing addition to Hemingway scholarship.

—Ruth Hawkins, Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage