The Portable Dorothy Parker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Portable Dorothy Parker

by
4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  7,447 ratings  ·  379 reviews
This collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors.
Paperback, Revised Edition (1973), The Viking Portable Library #74, 603 pages
Published December 9th 1976 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1944)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Portable Dorothy Parker, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Portable Dorothy Parker

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Jezebel's Books All Women Should Read
37th out of 522 books — 1,031 voters
The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
50th out of 1,361 books — 1,493 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cambra
Jun 03, 2007 Cambra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sassy postmodern ladies
today the Algonquin Hotel bar offers for the ultimate fan the "Mrs. Parker" = a $15 cosmopolitan. If you're as nerdy as me, you'll bring the book with you to read while you nurse the shit out of a week's food money.
Stephy
I enjoyed this book enormously. I used to love it. I still like it a great deal. Her writing has not changed, it is still rich and full of wonderful words arranged in to beautiful, sentences, clever paragraphs. The whole work still has great value. Dorothy Parker's legendary acerbic wit amused me no end as a young woman. What has changed is my perspective. As I have gotten older, I have come to view it as an internal rage, vented upon everyone around her. She remains a great read, but now I feel...more
Jessica
So you want to write? Pick up this collection of poetry, short stories, essays, and criticism and bow to the master. Looking for a cutting remark? Dorothy Parker already said it, and said it best. But the sharpness of her critical knife and the sharpness of her wit do not undercut, and in fact enhance, the truly earned moments of deep feeling that keep her characters from being merely brittle.
Clare
After I wrote a particularly scathing review of the unedited re-release of Apocalypse Now for my Critical Reviewing class in college (actual line from the review: "Around the third hour or so, I became convinced that the real genius of this film was not Coppola himself but rather the person who forced him to cut at least an hour out of Apocalypse Now in the first place"), my professor compared me to Dorothy Parker. Or maybe he just suggested I read her, but my ego prefers the first version. Anyw...more
Ramsey
Such a witty woman. I want to have lunch with her and listen to the ramblings of a dark, entertaining mind. She wrote humorous poems about how bad she is at committing suicide. She talked about the men in her life the same way us guys talk about women.

A Certain Lady by Dorothy Parker
Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves...more
Jessica
Dec 17, 2007 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: maybe better if you can't relate so much to it?
Well, I know just how she feels, which might be why I don't always enjoy this stuff so much. Reading Parker is a bit like having an IM conversation with myself, if I were a lot smarter, a much better writer, and a way bigger alcoholic.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I only read from page 445 to the end. Her short stories take up the first several hundred pages. They are dry and boring and contain not a hint of her trademark wit, so I skipped them.

The miscellaneous non-fiction pieces at the back of the book are the jewels in her scribbler's crown. Book reviews, theater critiques, magazine articles, and private letters -- a cornucopia of her peculiar observations and famed turns of phrase. Parker was a very funny lady, and a brutally honest one as well. Her...more
Ed
Aug 19, 2011 Ed added it
No Rating. I read the select parts I was interested in this time. Her shorter poems I find to be fetching. Tart, witty, cynical but all human and humane. I read her best known short story "Big Blonde," an autobiographical, at least in part, writing. Great interview she gave for the The Paris Review. I have other titles waiting in my to-read queue, so I'll return and give a fuller reading.
Patrick Gibson
Aug 02, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you all
Recommended to Patrick by: Noel Coward
Shelves: poetry
Lover her. Hate her. Her poetry is always sardonic fun.

"Now it’s over, and now it’s done;
Why does everything look the same?
Just as bright, the unheeding sun,—
Can’t it see that the parting came?
People hurry and work and swear,
Laugh and grumble and die and wed,
Ponder what they will eat and wear,—
Don’t they know that our love is dead?

Just as busy, the crowded street;
Cars and wagons go rolling on,
Children chuckle, and lovers meet,—
Don’t they know that our love is gone?
No one pauses to pay a tear;
Non...more
Elizabeth
Witty? Hmmm, how about erudite, clever, and ahead of her time...

Dorothy Parker had much to say about 20th century married life and said so when such things were not talked about. She was known as the "wittiest woman in America" and after reading this collection of her work I understand why she disliked the moniker. Her stories read more bittersweet than witty and are a glimpse into an era with rigid roles.

Andy
Jun 06, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: jazz age chicks
"Big Blonde" is the best story in the book, and one of the greatest short stories ever written. Dorothy Parker is the greatest chick-lit writer of all time. If you like Louise Brooks movies you will kiss Dorothy's literary feet!
Colleen
Even after renewing this book twice, I was still not able to finish this 613-page tome and am now out of time. So I reluctantly return it. Each of Dorothy Parker's short stories, poems, essays, and letters is a morsel to be savored. It's best kept at your bedside where you can pick it up, read and ponder, then set it back down again. There's no hurry to get through it--you won't forget the plot or who the characters are. This is not my normal genre so it was nice to break out and try something n...more
Megan
I was really obsessed with Dorothy Parker and the whole Algonquin Round Table in high school. I've read most of this book, maybe not all of the short stories. I always liked her play reviews the best, where she was truly snarky and not just sort of a 1920's version of emo; all whiny and overly ironic and desparate for attention. This collected edition has a lot of her play reviews, most of her poetry and I think all of her short stories.
Kricket
love the short story "the game." amazing.

p. 599 OMG DP WAS IN A TUBERCULOSIS SANATORIUM. v. exciting discovery.

She calls fox "20th century fucks."

I love this book! Poems, short stories, book reviews, articles, letters, all of it. Took me nearly a year to read and I'm still sorry to be done. No doubt will be picking up again & again.
Trice
Jul 21, 2013 Trice rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Trice by: Rory Gilmore
Mixed feelings on this. In the end I enjoyed the articles and reviews the most, though I wouldn't say her writing left me awestruck. Its strength in these pieces was in its conversational style and how much cultural criticism she slips into it sideways. But as a style, I wouldn't say her writing grabbed me.

Her stories were great little sketches of individuals over sometimes brief, sometimes extended periods of time, with such clear images of who these people were, even in their quickly passing p...more
Linda Robinson
Apr 19, 2013 Linda Robinson marked it as will-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Don't have enough time left to finish this book. I could buy it, but I am trying to lower the numbers of books on my shelves - I believe some are reproducing in the dark. Should I separate the female authors from the male? Is that what's happening? I'll dream about this in a surreal way I won't recognize in the morning, but will leave a paper-scented aura for the weekend. I love the idea of Dorothy Parker. The smoky sniping singular realm of the woman wit. I reminisce about favorite Parker quota...more
Batgrl (Not Trusting GR With My Reviews/Shelves Now)
Once upon a time I had this idea that one should read a book from start to finish, and if one was being particularly through that included the preface and any appendix. However that technique has often left me hanging in one part of a book (really wishing that I was reading another part, farther in) - and if it's a book of collected stories and poems, it's not really vital that you go in order.

I've also begun reading this book more than once and ended up hopping about and only reading bits and...more
Rebecca
I finished it! I finally finished it. I am so proud. Once I decided to skip the rest of the stories and poems and go to the reviews and essays, it was much better. And in the end, I read all the stories and poems as well. They are all very good, they were just too much all together. I definitely enjoyed her theater and book reviews the most. Some of her later stories were really excellent. All of them (including earlier ones) were good - witty, artfully constructed and written, succinct, dead-on...more
Holligolefty
The themes are common in life, and now they're common in every sort of media. Temp secretary has affair with the married boss, get's pregnant; A man bemoans his slippery grip on a fascinating woman, right to her, etc.

In 1944, The Viking Press in New York published this Portable compendium of all Parker's writing; collected stories, poems, unpublished later stories, articles and book reviews.
It was met with the usual scandalized reaction from 'The Heartland' upon which Parker always counted to b...more
Jessica
Mar 26, 2008 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Snarky Set
Okay, so Parker is one of those authors I was constantly referencing and mentioning in an effort to sound well-read--the truth, Opus, is that I'd never read a word by her. She's quoted often enough that we can get the gist, but still...and now that I've come clean about that, I can move forward in this review.

This is an excellent collection, and darn-near comprehensive. Her complete stories are in here, as are most (if not all) of her poems, book and theatre reviews for Vanity Fair, Esquire, etc...more
Zen Cho
It's not that portable, but Dorothy Parker's a bracing companion for travel, and well worth the bother of lugging her around. I love how mean she was, and she was a fabulous letter-writer: funny, frank and gossipy. Her poetry and short stories do get a bit samey when read all at one go -- themes recur -- but she's such an entertaining writer that it doesn't much matter.

It pleases me that she took up the mantle when P. G. Wodehouse stopped reviewing drama for -- hm, some magazine or the other. Ma...more
Vanessa
Oct 23, 2009 Vanessa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: American literature fans, women's literature fans
Recommended to Vanessa by: Jennifer
Other than finding the introduction to the edition I read ridiculous to a degree I cannot describe (I guess there is something wrong with me for not glorifying suicide among artists...), I found Dorothy Parker's short story collection to be quite enlightening. It allowed me a chance to look into the lives of women (and men) in the early half of the twentieth century and understand more fully how much and how little we have changed in such a relatively short period of time. I feel much less like...more
Richard Kramer
The revelations found here: her poetry -- verse, is probably how they thought of it -- and her book reviews. You
feel like it would have been wonderful to know her, which is one of the hardest, most under-rated qualities a writer
can convey to a reader, that requires the highest art to bring off and is often taken for granted with the idea "Well, they're
just being themselves." The minute a word hits a page it is ITself, separate from you, challenging you to tame it and the words that will follow.
S...more
Chelsea
Aug 28, 2007 Chelsea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of poetry with a bite
I do love the divine Ms. P. The fantastic cover alone was worth the price, even though I already own The Complete Poetry of Dorothy Parker and Complete Stories and an old copy of Sunset Gun. But! This contains some of her reviews, criticism, and, well, general awesomeness. Parker was queen of the biting remark, and I love her for it.

My one issue with this book, petty as it may seem, is that the pages have that unfinished, ragged edge that makes them difficult to turn. I hate it when books have...more
Aaron
Feb 18, 2014 Aaron rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, comedians, journalists
Oh, how I do adore Ms. Parker! Her cutting wit is stellar and light-years ahead of most writers today. If I ever wrote a book, I would've wanted Dorothy Parker to review it, good or bad. You could then count on something worth reading! This book contains verse, prose, letters, reviews and all of it is good. Some of the poetry was a little lighter fare than I care for, but there was generally a stinger or two stuck in there to remind you who was writing. She is a master of the short story and I d...more
Cheryl
While I didn't read every entry in this volume, the selections I did read were real pissers! Parker's ear for "sophisticated" conversation and reflection of this in her short stories are a scream! I wasn't bowled over by her poetry, though a few made me chuckle (one of which I'll take to the grave: "Time doth flit. Oh shit!"). Personal letters and reviews are entertaining. (I'm glad we both agree on Kerouac and do not become "afire" with his prose.) Thanks Smidge for recommending the Portable Pa...more
Kate
Pretty much everything in The Portable Dorothy Parker is an enjoyable read. Dorothy Parker's poetry is extremely clever and often scathing - although the themes are quite repetitive when the poems are put all together like this, so you may want to break up your reading. Looooots of love-gone-wrong, and, warning, a fair amount of suicidal ideation. But: the real stars of this compilation are the short stories.
I-Am-Insufferable alert: I have been know to make people sit down with my copy and read...more
Stacie
Based on the stories I read from this, I am giving Ms. Parker four stars. She has an amazing ability to bring forth great characters, stories and emotions in only a few short pages.

I read, "The Lovely Leave", "Arrangement in Black and White", "The Standard of Living" and "Mr. Durant".

Wow. I just finished reading "Big Blonde"...what a tragic and heartbreaking story.

I will definitely be revisiting the rest of her stories.
Amber Anderson
Transport yourself to the breezy apartments of boozy, man crazy, young women who populate New York City during the 1920's and 30s. You will have fun with them.

Good stories, silly (but interesting)poetry. Oh and there are some awesome book reviews in here too. You don't have to be familiar with the book in order to enjoy Dorothy Parker's biting criticism.

La Petite Américaine
Jul 04, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People Who Rock
Shelves: kicked_ass
Dorothy Parker kicks so much ass that I want to re-incarnate as a man, go back in time, and sleep with her. Just so I can say I did.

Dorothy Parker is one of the wittiest people that lived, and her poetry and stories are so simple that any half-wit could understand it (heehee) and appreciate her genius.

Dorothy rocks!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: The Portable Dorothy Parker - Dorothy Parker 1 3 Jul 22, 2014 05:32PM  
Audiobook only $19.41 at booksonboard.com! 1 8 Jan 13, 2010 11:20AM  
  • Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
  • A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister
  • Pushkin: A Biography
  • A Quiet Storm
  • The Little Locksmith
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age
  • The Meaning of Consuelo
  • Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled and Independent
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • The Art of Fiction
  • Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • Sacred Time
  • Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
  • Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?
  • Distant View of a Minaret and Other Stories
24956
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Dorothy Parker was an American writer and poet best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Ta...more
More about Dorothy Parker...
Complete Stories The Poetry and Short Stories of Dorothy Parker (Modern Library) The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker The Collected Dorothy Parker Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker

Share This Book

“What fresh hell is this?” 682 likes
“I won't telephone him. I'll never telephone him again as long as I live. He'll rot in hell, before I'll call him up. You don't have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I am. He knows I'm waiting here. He's so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you.” 400 likes
More quotes…