Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: A Journey Into Dorothy Parker's New York

A Journey Into Dorothy Parker's New York A Journey Into Dorothy Parker's New York by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Journey into Dorothy Parker's New York is an excellent primer to those who are not entirely familiar with Parker, the Algonquin Round Table or New York in the writer's heyday between the wars. Although the book only touches on a wide range of topics within the writer's life and within the ever-changing landscape of the literary side of New York City, fans of Parker will get just as much enjoyment out of this book as newcomers to her work.

The book's layout provides plenty of room for photos, maps, postcards and other notes of interest in Parker's life, though it does seem at times the layout is reminiscent of an elementary school social studies book. The key highlights of this book is that it not only gives you Parker's place in her own timeline, but her place in the current events that were swirling around her, whether it was while she lived in New York or wrote screenplays in Hollywood.

Although this book is a celebration of a beloved figure in twentieth century literature and how the city shaped her life and career, it also presents the way that New York is always trying to reinvent itself, moving out the aged and in with the latest trends. More than half of the locations in this book that play a pivotal role in Parker's life no longer exist, and much of the rest have been repurposed to fit a more modern lifestyle, one that doesn't have as much of a need for residential hotels or tiny theaters with less than 200 seats. But it shows that as much as it seems transformed now, the city was doing the exact same thing in Parker's time, and her work was influenced both directly and indirectly by it.

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