9780425264713

FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER

Ellen Meister

When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But that’s only because she’s learned to channel her literary hero Dorothy Parker, the most celebrated and scathing wit of the twentieth century. If only Violet could summon that kind of strength in her personal life.

Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel in an attempt to find inspiration from the hallowed dining room where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs,

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When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But that’s only because she’s learned to channel her literary hero Dorothy Parker, the most celebrated and scathing wit of the twentieth century. If only Violet could summon that kind of strength in her personal life.

Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel in an attempt to find inspiration from the hallowed dining room where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs, but she gets more than she bargained for when Parker’s feisty spirit rematerializes. An irreverent ghost with problems of her own—including a refusal to cross over to the afterlife—Mrs. Parker helps Violet face her fears, becoming in turn mentor and tormentor…and ultimately, friend.

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Paperback

Price: $15.00

ISBN: 9780425264713

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About Ellen Meister

Ellen Meister is the author of three previous novels: The Other Life, The Smart One, and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. She has held editorial positions at SmokeLong Quarterly and DimeStories. Meister teaches creative writing at Hofstra University School of Continuing Education and runs an online group where she mentors aspiring women authors.

Praise

“Meister honors Dorothy Parker, her still-fresh political convictions, and her body of witty, insightful work in this very nice literary romp…. Parker was the perfect New Yorker: sharp, witty and eminently quotable. And it is clear that Meister had a lot of responsible fun paying tribute to her.”BookReporter

“Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York … [with] pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement.”Publishers Weekly

“With a breezy and engaging writing style complete with Parkeresque banter…. [Farewell, Dorothy Parker] will be enjoyed by readers.”Library Journal

“Magical fun.”Booklist

Discussion Questions

Violet relies on Mrs. Parker to help her find her voice outside of her writing. Discuss the concept of “finding your voice.” Is this solely the idea of speaking up, or is there more to it than that?

At the opening of the story when Violet is trying to end her relationship with Carl, it is clear that she needs to be able to stand up to him but is unable to do so. Is her ability to speak up more, less, or as important once she starts dating the far less pushy Michael?

Outside of the custody battle, in what ways is it important for Violet to find her voice for her niece, Delaney? How about for herself?

Dorothy Parker's style of snappy comeback is a hallmark of American culture. She was the embodiment of “having a voice,” the very thing Violet struggles with most. In what ways is this type of voice an American ideal? In what ways is it transcendent of American culture?

Beyond “finding her voice,” in what ways is Mrs. Parker the perfect mentor for Violet? In what ways is Violet the perfect protégé for Mrs. Parker? Discuss some of the other female-mentorship relationships present in Farewell, Dorothy Parker.

Some of the minor characters—such as Andi, Sandra, Malcolm, and even Ivy—have antagonistic roles in this novel. Do you find them wholly unsympathetic, or is there reason to consider these characters both good and bad? Does your opinion about them change throughout the book?

Mrs. Parker makes the controversial decision to take over Violet and sleep with Michael Do you think she was acting altruistically for Violet's benefit, or selfishly for her own gratification? Does it matter?

What would you identify as the turning point for Mrs. Parker that allowed her to finally move on?

Violet has both an inner journey (overcoming her timidity) and outer journey (gaining custody of her niece). Does the intersection of these threads in the courtroom scene provide any additional insight into Violet?