01 March 2017
Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Women's fiction, fantasy
Format: mp3 audiobook downloaded from public library
Sweet or hot?: Medium; no graphic sex scenes but the F-bomb is dropped several times
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, I will get a few coins and my coffee budget will thank you. However, if you are skint and have to borrow the book from your library, I understand.
This is one of those books that I'm never sure how to classify. It is closer to women's fiction than chick lit or romance. There is a ghost but I wouldn't call it fantasy and it is definitely not horror. There are serious themes but it is too light to be magical realism, which is more literary. I guess I'll just call it "fiction" and move on . . .
Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister is the story of Violet Epps, a movie critic who writes biting reviews for a prominent weekly entertainment magazine but is timid in her real life. At the start of the story, Violet has several tough issues to face but crippling social anxiety is keeping her from handling them well. She schedules lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, frequent dining spot of Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle, to calm herself and gather strength to do what needs to be done. Little did she know that the spirit of Dorothy Parker herself would hitch a ride in her handbag.
I experienced this story on audio and I can't imagine doing it any other way. While Angela Brazil is not one of my favorite narrators, I adored her Dorothy Parker voice. It made me picture bobbed hair, cocktail glasses, and 1930s movies. I don't think I could conjure that voice in my head if I was reading it on the page.
Technically this isn't a novel about time travel because Dorothy Parker is a ghost, but it still hit those beats for me. The conversations between Violet and Dorothy Parker, where they were making comparisons between the culture of the past and the present day, were some of the best in the book. Meister says in the author's note at the end that she is a longtime fan of Dorothy Parker, and it shows in the writing. Meister also did a good job conveying the importance of the events in Violet's life that turned her into a meek, unassuming adult. We as readers do spend a good bit of time in Violet's head revisiting some events but it never feels like a rehash because Meister shows us something new each time we go back.
I'd say that this is a good book for anyone who wants to take a break from all the "murder with a side of pie" mystery novels that seem to be marketed to women my age. Romance is not a focus of the story so you can hand this book to your Aunt Pearl without worrying about sex scenes, but you may want to warn her that the F-word comes up once or twice.
Farewell, Dorothy Parker at Overdrive
Farewell, Dorothy Parker at Amazon
Farewell, Dorothy Parker at Book Depository