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The Portable Dorothy Parker

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  10,972 ratings  ·  530 reviews
This collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors.
Paperback, Revised and Enlarged Edition, 610 pages
Published December 9th 1976 by Penguin Books (first published May 1944)
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Maggie Faute de Mieux
Travel, trouble, music, art,
A kiss, a frock, a rhyme--
I never said they feed my heart,
But still they pass my time.

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4.34  · 
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 ·  10,972 ratings  ·  530 reviews


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Barry Pierce
Dorothy Parker, renowned wit, critic, poet and short-story writer. Take note of that order.

Picasso once said of Cézanne that he was 'the father of us all'. Well, in similar terms, Dorothy Parker is my biological mother. Which makes me Picasso I guess, which I'll take.

Parker's book reviews are the finest of the form. She was truly the queen of mean. As 'The Constant Reader' she praised and demolished the latest novels with such wit and grace that oftentimes the review was better than the work is
...more
Cambra
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Joe Valdez
May 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthology
This portable library of short stories, poems and reviews by the author, poet and critic Dorothy Parker was loaned by a friend who attached the following advice: "Parker might be best digested one bite at a time." Over the past two months, I've been doing that, eating lunch and digesting Parker's wit twenty pages at a time.

My first impression, which I was proud of myself for making at the time, was that these pieces read like something that would appear in the New Yorker. I soon discovered that
...more
El
I thought everyone knew who Dorothy Parker was, regardless if everyone has read her or not. But then recently I mentioned at work that I was reading her and the guy I was talking to said "Oh, who is Dorothy Parker?"

I read a lot of these stories back in my early 20s, which I think was the right time to read Dorothy Parker for the first time. I was much more impressed back then, like most readers in their early 20s are. But what's funny is that as the yeas have passed, I realized I forgot most of
...more
Stephy
Dec 05, 2007 rated it liked it
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 into 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
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-york, women, ha-ha-ha
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.
Jessica
Dec 17, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Clare
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Alex
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a constant concern: Are You In A Dorothy Parker Story? And does your laugh sound like a suicide attempt? So, in the interest of research, here are some Dorothy Parker stories.

Big Blonde is Parker's most famous short story. It's a direct response to Anita Loos's terrific Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - an unauthorized sequel, in fact. And if you thought Parker was all blithe sarcastic one-liners, here's her at her most cynical. Here's what happens to good sports - ain't we got fun? It's a great s
...more
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
Amy
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Parker's short stories and poetry. The author is best known for her wit and finding the humor in the darkest of circumstances. I wish that I had read this book a bit at a time instead of trying to power through it. Still, there was plenty to enjoy in this collection. I think I most admire Parker's characterizations. The dialogue is so good that you can hear the voices in their own distinct rhythms and accents. And many of the stories did make me laugh. It would be hard to not fin ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have a major literary crush on Parker. I'm a sucker for a funny line, and Parker had a lot of those.
Morgan
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing a review for Mrs. Parker's Potable Dorothy Parker is a little difficult because she was a critique herself. I'll start this by giving a little background to who Mrs. Parker was and why I think she is an important female writer to read. Dorothy Parker is known to some people as a writer for several magazines and famous for her one liners like "What fresh hell is this?" However, like most writers she did so much more then just make witty comments. She was a "feminist" too, said so herself. ...more
Amanda NEVER MANDY
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, funny-people
I can best describe this book as a brick; in physical size and in emotional weight. I went into it expecting simple stories laced with a sarcastic sense of humor that would rival my own. What I ended up with at times was overwhelming waves of disgust that dripped with feelings of melancholy towards the human condition. Depth and insight that cut to the bone with sarcasm and humor as a shot of vodka to numb the spirit; what a breathtaking combo.

After reading a sampling of her stories, reviews and
...more
Catherine
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Dorothy Parker!! Smart, witty, biting, sarcastic, and so true to life. Even though these stories were written years ago, the themes and mood ring true today. I'd been wanting to read some of her work for a while and am glad I finally picked up this book.

This is a collection of short stories, many of which focus on the relationships between men and women. Parker seems to have had a fairly negative view of romantic relationships as many of her stories highlight the miscommunication within a
...more
Ed
Aug 19, 2011 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.
Andy
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Florencia
Dorothy Parker's reputation as one of the wittiest women of the twentieth century was made on tart quotes and agile one liners. She never quite managed to shed her image as a joker, even though she was a prolific writer of verse, short stories, literary and dramatic criticism, articles, eloquent war reporting, polemical essays, sketches, song lyrics, dramas, and screenplays. Her output, across a half century, was vast. Still, this wasn't enough for her.

It never is.

A delightful introduction by M
...more
La Petite Américaine
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Fara7
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A one-woman show handled wittily to hide her innermost insecurities..!
So bravo!
Who wouldn't relate to that wit and recklessly daring kind of heroism?!
("I know I'm drinking myself to a slow death, but then I'm in no hurry"), she argues; but her shield of sarcasm lowers slightly, and her loneliness and regret for her own pretensions and failure to change the world come through clearly and sadly!
A big cynical of a human being, I guess but a lot of a romantic one, that's for sure..let alone (ahead;
...more
Zen Cho
Aug 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ann-marie
I am so glad that I read this book!

I have read some of Dorothy Parker's verse (who has not?), and some anecdotes from her life and was intrigued by her. This volume includes verse (she did not consider her writings "poetry"), short stories, magazine articles, book and theatre reviews and a collection of letters. The short stories were my favorite part! Her style is very heavy on dialogue, including internal dialogue, and not very narrative. I feel like it gives her stories a unique rhythm and re
...more
Patrick Gibson
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Stacey (bookishpursuit)
3-3.5

I love Dorothy Parkers wit. I really enjoyed some of the stories, and others felt like they droned on and were similar to previous stories. I think eliminating some of the stories or not reading this book all at once, but a story once in awhile would remedy that problem.

The end of the book is interesting and more serious. It speaks to DP's political statements.

I may try to read this again, breaking it up into small pieces, one story every once in awhile. I think it's an important piece of
...more
Elizabeth
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.

Megan
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Rincey
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I think I'll finally move this over to the "read" shelf.

I didn't read every single page of this book. I love Dorothy Parker and think she is witty and clever. But reading every single thing she ever wrote was a bit wearing and started to feel repetitive and her humor even started to seem a bit mean.
Jill Hutchinson
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
If you are a fan of the witty, acerbic Miss Parker then this is the book that you must have. It contains reviews, poetry, articles, and short stories......everything you need to satisfy your soul. Enough said.....just wonderful.
Zanna
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 500gbw
I'm cheating - I've read The Collected Dorothy Parker so counting this to bulk up my meagre 500 Great Books by Women score
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Dorothy Parker was an American writer, poet and critic 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
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“What fresh hell is this?” 951 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.” 546 likes
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