Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dorothy Parker

I've had The Portable Dorothy Parker sitting on my shelf for several years just waiting to be read. This past week, I finally got around to it.

Parker's reputation as a witty, sarcastic writer is so widely heralded that I was interested to see if her work would live up to the hype. At first, I didn't think it was going to. The Portable Dorothy Parker is made up of short stories interspersed with sections of poems, and rounded out by excerpts from some of her book and theater reviews. I'll admit that I didn't spend too much time on the poems, but the first section or two of stories left me disappointed. Her tone seemed a bit over the top in satirizing her female protagonists. As I got to the later stories, though, I began to enjoy her writing more and more. I'm not sure if this is reflective of her having grown as a writer throughout the years or me becoming more attuned to and appreciative of her writing style.

Her reviews were also quite enjoying to read. Some of the plays and books she reviewed have long since fallen into obscurity, but that doesn't even matter. Her reviews are so funny that it's of little consequence whether or not you are familiar with the subject matter at hand. It struck me that it's pretty amazing how caustic and sarcastic she was about things she doesn't like. I feel like it's very rare to see that in book reviews written today when, in the name of being PC and objective, reviewers try to keep from revealing strong personal preferences for or against specific authors. Not so, Dorothy Parker. Even from reading the sampling of review included in this volume, it's blatantly obvious which authors of her time she respected and which she disdained.

This cover is from a different, more current, edition of the book than mine. I'd be interested in flipping through this one next time I'm browsing at B&N to see the illustrations, which were done by a graphic artist.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails