Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: The Last Days of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade

The Last Days of Dorothy Parker: The Extraordinary Lives of Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman and How Death Can Be Hell on Friendship by Marion Meade is the story of much of Dorothy Parker's adult life in brief including her death and what became of her remains. As such it also touches on the others in her life: husband, friends, acquaintances. Much though is dedicated to Lillian Hellman and her roll in Dottie's life and thereafter.

Lilly considered herself Dottie's best friend. And they were close friends even though there was an age difference of about a decade. The age difference caused problems towards the end of Dottie's life though because of Lilly's vain type of personality and her inability to see a friend in such shape as Dorothy had achieved.

Honestly, I expected more about the relationship between Dottie and Lilly and less on the history of Dorothy overall. It was still interesting to me because I had not read a biography of Dorothy before. I can understand that the history was needed to place things in perspective. And especially needed towards the end to show Lilly's character.

It's important that you read the afterword if you read the book. It explains why some of the detail seems to be rather scant.

It's a good book, but a little dry. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure what if anything the author could have done to improve it given what she had to work with. It's a must read if you are a Dorothy Parker fan, especially if you haven't read a biography yet. But, don't expect it to be full of wit and bon mots. It is pretty much just the facts m'aam. The author leaves the quotations from works to books such as the Portable Dorothy Parker, an edition she edited. If you like this book, or want to read further about Dorothy Parker, you may want to check out the author's other full biography of her entitled, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

I gave this book 3 stars out of 5. Good, but not great.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.