Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses.
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force, and,
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
But this isn't just a book about Dorothy Parker and her writing. It's also about the history and architecture, the politics and social history of the early- to mid-twentieth century New York City in which Parker lived and wrote. Scattered with photos, maps, and the occasional excerpt from Parker's work, this is a very readable slice of history.
It's a book about the growth of Manhattan in the early twentieth century, the beginnings of Broadway theater, the anti-communism crusade of the 1950s and its effects on American culture (Parker and others in the Hollywood scene were blacklisted during the McCarthy era). One sidebar relates how the Titanic disaster affected Dorothy's extended family when she was eighteen.
Added bonus for theater lovers: a nice twelve-paged section in the middle that details the history of various theaters, their dates, and the famous shows and events that were performed in them.
Occasionally, the connections between events and Parker's life are a bit of a stretch. A large picture of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller graces one page, on which Fitzpatrick mentions that Parker met the couple at an event where she and Miller both received awards. On the other hand, Lillian Hellman, executrix of Parker's estate upon her death, is never pictured and is mentioned so casually that it's somewhat of a surprise to learn, in the final pages of the book, that she was "one of the few people [Dorothy] trusted" in her later years. It's as if text was written to match the available pictures, rather than the other way around.
Author Kevin Fitzpatrick is president of the Dorothy Parker Society of New York. On their site you can listen to Parker reading some of her poems.
The soundtrack: Rhapsody in Blue, composed by George Gershwin in 1924, during the peak of the Algonquin Round Table years.