Dorothy Parker was a real person of 1920’s fame, but this is not historical fiction, per se. It is more about Norah Wolfe who works for TV talk show, Simon Janey Live. The company is failing and if they don’t soon secure a phenomenal interview with someone ultra-famous, the show will be cancelled. When Norah was thirteen, she’d read Dobson’s Night by famous author, Ted Shriver. The story resonated so much with her, she became obsessed with him. But several years ago, he seemed to drop off the face of the earth after a scathing accusation of plagiarism. She now knows he’s hiding out in a room at the Algonquin Hotel. She also knows he’s gone there to die as a brain tumor ravages his mind. She knows … OK, she’s hoping … that if she could get five minutes of his time, she could convince him to come forward in an interview.
It’s at this historic hotel Norah meets Dorothy (Dotty) Parker. At first Norah thought the hotel had hired ‘look-alikes’ to dress and act like the famous authors who’d signed the commemorative guest book. Those authors were dubbed ‘The Algonquin Round Table’. They used to lunch together frequently at The Algonquin during their day. Slowly, it begins to dawn on Norah that this is THE Dorothy Parker. Parker refuses to go to the light. She can remain in bodily form as long as the guest book remains open. Dorothy knows Ted and if she can get him to sign the guest book, he can keep her company after he dies. Everyone else has chosen to ‘cross over’. Dorothy conspires with Norah – her version of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’. Can they both get what they want?
Author Ellen Meister does a great job of carrying forth the wisecracks and classic witticism that would likely have come from Dorothy Parker’s mouth. It’s also a very moving and emotional story that I didn’t quite expect. I loved the cameo appearances made by Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Hellman, Groucho Marx, and even Dotty’s poodle, Cliché. Just when you think you’ve got the story figured out, there’s a tender little twist that ‘ups the ante’ for the reader. This is Meister’s second Dorothy Parker book, the first beingFarewell Dorothy Parker. It’s a fun, almost magical, journey into ‘what if’. Rating: 4 out of 5.