Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Staff Review by Jack Edson:
Dorothy Parker, the famously sharp-tongued critic and wit, held forth with her male peers at NYC’s “Algonquin Round Table” from about 1919 till 1929, providing sarcastic remarks, put-downs and, let’s face it, a lot of truth in what she said. It turns out there was an autograph book that all of the members of the Algonquin Round Table signed, and that is where this new work of fiction, Farewell, Dorothy Parker, begins.
Young Violet Eppes is a film critic, and she sounds a lot like the great Dorothy Parker in her movie reviews. But when it comes to real life, that is where the comparison falls apart. Violet cannot say “no” to her annoying and self-centered boyfriend, and this guy is planning to move in with her at the end of the week. Violet may be a force to be reckoned with when writing words on paper, but she is a pushover when trying to get her point across to actual living people using actual speech. You might say that Violet needs a dose of Dorothy Parker, and she needs one fast.
Violet’s life has been touched with tragedy. Her older sister and brother-in-law were recently killed in an automobile accident leaving Violet an orphaned niece. Violet is now involved in a custody battle for the niece, pitted against the girl’s uptight grandparents. So, now, she doubly needs a dose of Mrs. Parker.
Fortunately, Violet borrows the Algonquin Round Table autograph book, and when she opens it to the page that Dorothy Parker signed many years ago, the spirit of Dorothy Parker comes back to life. Parker is only too happy to mentor Violet and to meddle in every aspect of her life. Whenever that autograph book is open, Violet finds she is becoming more outspoken, less fearful and more of a risk taker, especially when it comes to anything related to Dorothy Parker’s favorite things, namely men and gin. We learn a lot about Dorothy Parker’s personality, her shocking vocabulary, her wit, her perfect timing, and sadly, the wounded little girl inside the loudmouthed adult.
This book is full of humor and has many poignant episodes. It is fun to see Dorothy Parker return from the grave and ask “what fresh hell is this?,” but there are many moments when the reader will want to close that guest book and make Dorothy Parker go back where she belongs.
If you’re interested in this book, there is a library in your neighborhood where you can find it. Your public library is a source of immediate gratification. Take a walk to your local branch and discover a vital resource that is there for the taking. Whether it’s current events, a visit to our downtown cafe called Fables, something for the kids, or even booking a librarian, we’re not just books anymore! Your free Buffalo & Erie County Public Library card is your ticket to millions of free resources – e-books, downloadable music, research databases, genealogical materials, our complete catalog, and of course, more than 3 million book titles. All of this is at your fingertips at any Library in Erie County or from your own computer – check us out at www.buffalolib.org.
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