A first impression goes a long way. That's true with people, and I think it's also true with books. When I'm choosing a new book, once I get past the title and the author, it's the first line--or first few lines--that make the decision for me.
The film is not just an adventure story, not just "man against nature." It is the story of Everyman, every human being who comes to the end of life and is moved to reflect upon what that life has meant.
A large segment of the letters -- the first written when he was not quite 8 -- are juvenilia and could be the sentiments of any young whippersnapper. Yet there are occasional hints at what would become the acclaimed Hemingway mode of between-hard-covers expression.
The Cuban people have a love/hate relationship with Americans: a hate for what they consider our "actions" that contribute to their suffering, and yet a love for a country that would offer relief from Castro's dictatorship.