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The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin…
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The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

by Dorothy Parker

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The best being the best. This would be my desert island book. I never get sick of Parker's witty poetry and short stories. Having this book is like having a witty friend around who is always ready with a cocktail. I am not exaggerating when I say that if I could only read one book for the rest of my life if would be this one. ( )
  KatieTF | Nov 23, 2015 |
"And if, somewhere in that process, you part with a certain amount of sanity, doubtless you are better off without it. There is too much sense in this world anyway."

So much, which would be baller if most of it was entertaining - alas. The poetry is abysmal (which she admits during a later-in-life interview, she wasn't contradicted). Short stories are where she shines, sometimes: The Lovely Leave; Mr. Durant; The Waltz; Song of the Shirt, 1941; A Telephone Call; Soldiers of the Republic; Too Bad; Big Blonde; Lady with a Lamp. Love her one-sided conversations/quasi-monologues and her portrayal of the perfect woman throughout - "Men like a good sport" (all satire, of course). Also enjoyed her review of Redemption by Leo Tolstoi and her Introduction: The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments by James Thurber. Reading while depressed was a perk, I fear even less would have resonated otherwise.

"Ah, the sun's coming out! It's going to be a lovely day, after all. Isn't that the meanest thing you ever saw in your life?" ( )
  dandelionroots | Feb 25, 2015 |
The Audio version of "The Telephone Call" just had me in tears. It was the last story and after hours of snappish and witty fun, BAM, there is this story that I can so relate to told in a voice that sounds so much like mine, lost, in pain, desperate. My God, the best short ever written...at least for any woman that has experienced a break-up or an uncertain relationship. I would love to say that I haven't felt that desperate for a phone call, that I hadn't started making deals with a God that I no longer believe in, or I haven't made deals with myself to wait X number of minutes, but I can't. ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
Dorothy Parker was famous for her satirical wit, a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, and one of the earliest writers for the New Yorker. She was once arrested for protesting the execution of the murderers Sacco and Vanzetti. Later, she pursued screenwriting in Hollywood and was later blacklisted there for her involvement in left-wing politics. She was married three times, twice to the same man; and had four suicide attempts, none successful. After her death, her ashes lay for 21 years on a shelf at a funeral home and then in the office of a Wall Street law firm, before she was finally buried at the headquarters of the NAACP. Parker loved one-liners and word play, and this is a compilation of short stories, magazine articles, letters, interviews, book and theater reviews, and poetry written by Parker over a period of roughly 60 years.

Although Parker deplored the idea of writing “like a woman,” in her short fiction she often focused on themes that women frequently write about. Her short stories tend to focus on the relationships between the sexes, and the differences that arise out of relationships between men and women. She was really good at watching people and listening to them, which is how she can write an entire story in dialogue and still get her message across by implication. Two of my favorite stories among the ones collected here are “Big Blonde,” the story of a young woman’s alcoholic decline (based on personal experience, which makes all the more powerful); and “The Game,” in which a young married couple have a dinner party at which a game (resembling Charades), innocent at first, is played. This last story highlights the fact that there’s a hidden meaning (or multiple meanings) for every action.

But her stories don’t really capture what Dorothy Parker might have been like as a person; for that, you have to look at her other works for that famous, biting wit. In her book reviews, Parker reviews not only the book but the author as well (“Dashiell Hammett is as American as a sawed-off shotgun.”). Even when she’s trying to review other people, Parker is pretty self-deprecatory; so she’ll interject her reviews and articles with personal anecdotes that poke fun at her own age, for example. I love an author who can roll with the punches, so to speak, and someone who can make fun of themselves gets extra points with me. In all, this collection is an impressive representation of the oeuvre of Dorothy Parker’s work, life, and personality. ( )
  Kasthu | Feb 2, 2013 |
How many times have I seen bon mots attributed to Dorothy Parker? I thought I'd enjoy reading more of what she had written. Evidently, she was quite the wit in her day.

Turns out anything she wrote that was witty, I had already read!

I enjoyed a few of her short stories, especially the ones that were written during the War...and guess what?: her husband was serving overseas. The ring of authenticity was, well, to write as she did, authentic.

In a few of the reviews she wrote I think I saw the hint of what made her current "back in the day." Unfortunately, humor doesn't always wear well. Her "letters" were dreadfully boring....not understanding fully the intended audience nor to what she was alluding. Evidently her son suffered from Tuberculosis. The scourge of her day, and becoming one in ours, too.

All in all, it is one of those books where I can say, "I'm glad I read it," but am happy to never need to read it again. A good book to put in the guest room bookcase.... ( )
1 vote kaulsu | Apr 17, 2012 |
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Dorothy Parker's reputation as one of the wittiest women of the twentieth century was made on tart quotes and agile one liners. -- from the Introduction
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine with previous editions of Collected/Portable Dorothy Parker. Besides the first section, the contents are very different
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039539, Paperback)

The second revision in sixty years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors.

For this new twenty-first-century edition, devoted admirers can be sure to find their favorite verse and stories. But a variety of fresh material has also been added to create a fuller, more authentic picture of her life's work. There are some stories new to the Portable, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. Two of these pieces concern home decorating, a subject not usually associated with Mrs. Parker. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings-racial, labor, international-and so "Soldiers of the Republic" is joined by reprints of "Not Enough" and "Sophisticated Poetry-And the Hell With It," both of which first appeared in New Masses. "A Dorothy Parker Sampler" blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down.

The introduction of two new sections is intended to provide the richest possible sense of Parker herself. "Self-Portrait" reprints an interview she did in 1956 with The Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ("Writers at Work") that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies.

"Letters: 1905-1962," which might be subtitled "Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored," presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.

A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps, rough front, and luxurious packaging

Features an introduction from Marion Meade and cover illustrations by renowned graphic artist Seth, creator of the comic series Palooka-ville

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 09 Oct 2015 22:39:08 -0400)

The second revision in sixty years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors. There are some stories new to the Portable, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings ? racial, labor, international ? and so "Soldiers of the Republic" is joined by reprints of "Not Enough" and "Sophisticated Poetry ? And the Hell With It," both of which first appeared in New Masses. "A Dorothy Parker Sampler" blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down. "Self-Portrait" reprints an interview she did in 1956 with the Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ("Writers at Work") that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies. "Letters: 1905-1962," which might be subtitled "Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored," presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039539, 014118258X

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