Sonian Book Club: The Portable Dorothy Parker, by Dorothy Parker

Laura Zizek reading The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker.

Laura Zizek reading The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker.

Title: The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker and edited by Marion Meade

Genre: Satire/criticisms/reviews/short stories/poetry

Pages: 626 

About the author: Parker has worked for publications like Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker. Through her writing career she met famous writers, actors,  and critics. She also formed the Algonquin Round Table, which included Harper’s Bazaar editor Art Samuels, film star Harpo Marx and New York Times drama critic Alexander Woollcott, would meet daily at the Algonquin Hotel to have lunch, discuss ideas and gossip.

Plot: The Portable Dorothy Parker is a collection of short stories, poetry, articles, criticisms and book reviews by Parker. Her stories have a satirical, witty tone, which she became famous for when she started writing in the 1920s. One of her best known short stories was, Big Blonde, about Hazel Morse and her relationship troubles. The men in her life only enjoy her company when she is cheerful but the moment she wants to stay-in or is feeling sad they desert her. 

First they were lovers; and then, it seemed with transition, they were enemies.

She never understood it.

Why you should read it: Parker’s writing is brutally honest and funny. Her wit pierces through tough subjects like race, sex, class systems and relationships. She is fearless in her writing and doesn’t censor or limit herself when writing on sensitive issues.

Parker’s writing is timeless, at times dark but always enjoyable.


This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 5, 2014.

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