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Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister

Farewell, Dorothy Parker (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Ellen Meister

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1423684,396 (3.42)19
Title:Farewell, Dorothy Parker
Authors:Ellen Meister
Info:Putnam Adult (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister (2013)



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Violet Epps is a movie critic who is sharp-tongued in writing, but timid in real life. She's struggling to break up with her boyfriend who keeps steamrolling her, talking over her, and trying to convince her that she's really in love with him. On top of that toxic relationship, Violet is battling for custody of her recently-orphaned niece, Delaney. The girl's grandparents also want to raise her, and they hired a ferocious lawyer to fight dirty. Enter Dorothy Parker, Violet's idol, the one who inspires her to be so snarky in her movie reviews. While having lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, Violet sees the famous guestbook that the authors of the Algonquin Round Table all signed. The hotel's original owner collected signatures because he wanted to capture the spirits of the authors when they passed on, but Mrs. Parker was the only one who was caught. When Violet realizes the book has come home with her, she learns more about the magic it possesses. Mrs. Parker comes to life around Violet, helping her stand her ground, and occasionally taking control over Violet's body.

I read this whole book in one day and am ready to read it again. I have totally loved both of Ellen Meister's books, and look forward to reading much more from her.

In-depth review at Allison Writes ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
Entertaining, witty, funny and insightful. A true delight! ( )
  Swissmama | Apr 8, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I had a hard time getting into this book. I picked it up once, put it down, picked it up a couple of months later, and so on--never a good sign. And I had high hopes for this book, because I LOVE Dorothy Parker's wittiness. but I felt like this book tried a bit to hard, and as a result, fell flat for me. Also, I found it completely unbelievable that Dorothy Parker, such a strong woman herself, would ever have wasted time with a woman like Violet.
  Kasthu | Jan 7, 2015 |
Have you ever played the history game where you can choose points in history you’d like to visit? For me, the era of the Algonquin Round Table in Manhattan is one such time. Men of great wit and intelligence drinking cocktails and being dominated by one of the greatest wits of all: Dorothy Parker. Given that choice, finding Ellen Meister’s novel, Farewell, Dorothy Parker was an early Christmas present.

Violet Epps is a movie critic whose writing is as sharp and honest as her personality is meek and mild. She struggles mightily to break off a relationship with a narcissistic moocher who main incentive is free rent. It is only when she meets him at the Algonquin Hotel and the manager brings over the guest book for her to sign that she encounters the woman who’s going to give her the spine she’s never had. It is as Violet runs her finger over the famous signature that she first encounters the spirit of Dorothy Parker, who has been locked within the book, thanks to a spell cast by the hotel’s original manager. Apparently she is desperately bored and ready for a drink and when she responds to Violet’s touch over her name she breaks free, entering Violet and getting her to dash out of the hotel with the book.

People of every generation seemed to think their contemporaries practically invented swear words, but Dorothy Parker and her friends were dropping the f-bomb way back in the 1920s.

Apparently, being possessed by a spirit is not as much fun as it might sound because it makes Violet violently ill but when she recovers in her apartment, she reopens the book and Parker takes physical form in the room. When the book is open she can appear but when it is closed she goes back to a limbo where she waits for the next opportunity to return. This manifestation leads to numerous gin and tonics and brisk lessons from Parker to Violet on how to assert herself. A lesson Violet sorely needs as she is trying to get custody of her niece after her sister’s death but is being fought by the paternal grandparents who think she is too flighty to be a guardian. She’s also battling a young administrative assistant who takes it upon herself to re-write (read massacre) one of Violet’s reviews and put it in the magazine under Violet’s name.

Farewell, Dorothy Parker is fun reading and then some. It is not just a humorous fantasy about Dorothy Parker living in your apartment and prompting you to do and say things you might not do or say (although that happens and is hilarious). Using prose that balances between humor and pain Meister creates a novel dealing with real-life issues while wrapped in a comedic blanket. I mentioned it was like an early Christmas present and it was—bright, shiny, unexpected, and made me smile. ( )
  cathgilmore | Jan 24, 2014 |
Farewell, Dorothy Parker, by Ellen Meister, is a witty novel about a young woman, Violet Epps, who encounters the spirit of Dorothy Parker when she opens a guest book in the Algonquin Hotel where the formidable, sexy, witty, often drunk, thoroughly irreverent Mrs. Parker and the Algonquin Round Table crew regularly met many years before. Dorothy Parker is allowed to escape the book when it is open but must stay within the room occupied by the book. The narrator, Violet Epps, a movie critic like Parker, gives sometimes-scathing reviews in writing, but in her private life is a shrinking violet. She isn't able to breakup with a boyfriend she loathes, establish a satisfactory relationship with a more suitable man, defend herself and her niece against her deceased sister's parents-in-law, or effectively standup for herself at work. The numerous dead include Dorothy Parker, Violet's sister and brother in law, who both died tragically in an accident leaving their daughter, orphaned and emotionally shattered, and Violet's own parents. Violet is locked in a custody battle with her niece’s clueless grandparents and nearly loses her job by her own timidity until she learns from Mrs. Parker how to fight back. But Violet's lessons from Mrs. Parker sometimes come with unexpected and unwanted force, episodes which have surprising and funny results. Eventually Violet regains her own voice and her power. Though the novel is infused with historical information about Dorothy Parker, it is also rather light like Mrs. Parker's own verse and writing. I would recommend it as a good summer read, but not something I would want to teach or reread for layers of literary meaning.
  blhooley | Jun 17, 2013 |
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The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.
--Dorothy Parker
This book is dedicated to Betty Mogavero in loving memory
First words
Violet Epps stood before the maitre d' in the lobby lounge of the Algonquin Hotel, waiting to be noticed.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039915907X, Hardcover)

What if inspiration came to visit...and wouldn't leave?

When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But that's only because she's learned to channel her literary hero, Dorothy Parker, the most celebrated and scathing wit of the 20th century.

If only Violet could summon that kind of courage in her personal life.

Determined to defeat her social anxiety, Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel to pull strength from the hallowed dining room, where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs. But she gets more than she bargained for when Dorothy Parker's feisty spirit rematerializes from an ancient guestbook and hitches a ride onto her life.

Violet is shocked and thrilled to be face-to-face with her idol, but when the gin-swilling writer takes up residence in her home and grows pricklier and more outspoken by the day, the timid movie critic is pushed to her limit. With her job threatened, her new relationship in tatters, and the custody fight for her orphaned niece in jeopardy, Violet is forced to face her fears ...and she makes sure Mrs. Parker does the same.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly poignant, Farewell, Dorothy Parker perfectly re-imagines one of America's most iconic voices in a captivating and unforgettable tale.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:31 -0400)

"Determined to defeat her social anxiety, [powerhouse movie critic] Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel to pull strength from the hallowed dining room, where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs. But she gets more than she bargained for when Dorothy Parker's feisty spirit rematerializes from an ancient guestbook and hitches a ride onto her life"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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