In this lively, absorbing biography, Marion Meade illuminates both the dark side of Parker and her days of wicked wittiness at the Algonquin Round Table and in Hollywood.
©1987 Marion Meade; (P)1995 Blackstone Audio Inc.
the writer did a great job of capturing the dry caustic wit of parker, and all that it cost her through the years of her life. sometimes this audio book was laugh-out loud hilarious, as the writer sprinkled the text with actual quotes from parker, and sometimes heartbreaking as her life fell apart again and again, only to be remade with style and courage and too much to drink.
the reader gives it a very sympathetic voice and at the end of the book her voice matched my emotion perfectly, which was satisfying.
i first loved parker´s short stories, then her poetry, and now her biography. i wish audibles had many other biographies of writers from the 20th century. glad they have this one ! i highly recommend it.
The author succeeds in creating empathy for Dorothy Parker, a very talented but very troubled woman. Her career spans four decades of American history, including the Jazz Age, the War Years and the McCarthy Era, and her life intersects with many other famous American authors. However, the narrator sounds rather bored and snobbish, and pauses often. Increasing the speed helped somewhat.
In spite of Dorothy Parker's sad, tragic life, her point of view gives a cynical, humorous twist to all the tragedies she encounters. I've heard this book many times and I always enjoy it because of Dorothy's complexity (insanity?) and the people she knew: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gerald and Sara Murphy, and, of course, the Algonquin Round Table (Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcutt, etc.). Dorothy's sarcastic quips are a quick relief from the heartbreaking choices she makes as a pre-feminist writer: hiding her Jewish background, selecting handsome (gay?) men that she emasculates, attempting suicide several times, embracing the fast life of NYC and Hollywood, naively supporting Communistic causes, and failing to complete a long-awaited book. However, Dorothy Parker's short stories and poetry are still relevant today, especially for feminists and literature lovers. Narration is fine, but a couple of phrases like "turn over the tape for side 2" can be jarring. I hope you enjoy this audiobook. I did and still do.
Witty, Clever, Fascinating, Funny, Intelligent, Complicated... I could go on and on - these are some of the things that Dorothy was - and all the things that this book isn't.
How does someone write so unemotionally and without any sympatico for her subject?
I was looking for more - I was sadly disappointed.
"Great biography, poorly executed!"
This biography of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade is a wonderful work. Parker never wanted a biography written during her life or after her death in the first place and though there is an earlier bio, that one only follows Parkers life (which is interesting enough). Mead?s book combines Parker?s life with her literary output in great detail and is often as funny as the literary lady her herself. If you want to read a very good biography of one of the literary greats of American poetry and short story, look no further. Meade did a lot of research on especially the early and later years of Parker and is a kind of expert on Parkers work, she did the introduction of The Portable Dorothy Parker and also wrote Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin (three writers of the Jazz Age) and contributed to A Journey into Dorothy Parker's New York, a wonderful photo book and a guide for all Parker fans.
Unfortunately the audio book doesn?t really live up to this. The reader has no feeling or instinct for the wit and irony of both Dorothy Parker and Marion Meade and reads so businesslike she could be reading the minutes of some boring board meeting. Second, nobody at Audible took the trouble to edit the original recording, so frequently the reading is interrupted by ?You have reached the end of this cassette (?!), please continue on the other side?. Very sloppy of Audible and very irritating during a 17 hour read of a marvellous biography.
So 5 stars for the book and 1 star for the recording. A poor job and a missed opportunity.
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