The joy of being able to deliver a zinger when needed does not always come at the appropriate moment – unless you are Dorothy Parker. Ellen Meister reincarnates this caustic critic, known for her quick wit and timely repartee in her romantic comedy - Farewell, Dorothy Parker.
Violet, a movie critic with her own range of critical commentary, has trouble translating her unleashed literary verve into her personal life. In the midst of being taken advantage of by her boyfriend, her dead sister’s in-laws, and a young aspiring editorial assistant, Violet inadvertently releases the ghost of Dorothy Parker from the famous Algonquin Round Table guest book.
When the book is open, Ms. Parker appears in all her glory – smoking, drinking gin, and lobbing one-liners. As the story progresses, Meister fills in much of Parker’s biography – fun to renew if you are a fan of the famous nineteen twenties writer, a revelation if you only knew Dorothy Parker as the person who said: “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”
Eventually, Parker resolves her own fear of “going into the light,” and leaves Violet with renewed spunk to refreshingly live out her own life. The story has melodramatic moments but it was a quick read on a Kindle that left me laughing and yearning to find some of Dorothy Parker’s short stories and poems (and wanting to lunch at the Algonquin).
One of my favorite Dorothy Parker poems:
“Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”
For A Taste of Dorothy Parker: