DOROTHY PARKER: What Fresh Hell is This? by Marion Meade

DOROTHY PARKER: What Fresh Hell is This?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fast-paced, light, absorbing biography of the well-known author and wit. Parker's life was not a happy one. She had lifelong troubles with liquor, writing, and men; she was almost always in debt; she refused to learn how to take care of herself(even so much as to learn how to make a bed); she was proud, stubborn, mean, hypocritical and perverse--and she tried to kill herself at least three times. All of this makes for a rollicking tragic story, which is exactly what Meade has succeeded in producing in this well-researched, well-written, but uncritical review of Parker's sad life. And this is definitely a book about Parker's life and not her writing; her well-known struggles to write welt are hastily passed over in favor of her more outwardly dramatic struggles with men, and whatever aesthetic intentions she may have had receive little attention in comparison to the lavish care paid to her relationships with famous people. These were many, and a constant presence in her life as well as this biography--Alexander Woollcott, Ring Lardner, Irving Berlin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Lillian Hellman--but if Meade's pages seem quite full of juicy anecdotes about these well-known characters, that is only because Parker's life was, too. Meade is best known for her biography, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the novel Stealing Heaven: The Love Story of Heloise and Abelard In this, her first study of a 20th-century heroine, her steady, quick prose and lively discussions of dinner parties, relationships, and attempted suicides add up to a spritely biography with popular appeal.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1987
ISBN: 0140116168
Publisher: Villard/Random House