Hemingway grew up in the affluent Chicago suburb of Oak Park, the son of a physician father and a musically inclined mother. He accepted the community's conservative universe, and nothing in his youth marked him for a writer whose cynicism and sexual frankness would be the source of dismay for many Oak Parkers. Among the most dismayed were his parents. When his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, was due for discussion at her book club, his mother absented herself, unable to bear the shame of it all.
For his part, Hemingway became alienated from both his parents, seeing his mother as overbearing and his father as weak. Those judgments eventually formed the basis of "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," his devastatingly negative portrayal of a marriage.