My Life In Books: Megan Harding

The Collected Dorothy Parker // Dorothy Parker

As a collection of poetry and short fiction, I picked up this book and skimmed through it in not-so chronological order, after being introduced to Parker’s work as part of my GCSE English Literature. Amongst the classic Robert Frosts and William Blakes to study, here was a poet I hadn’t previously known, speaking with an angered irony I was drawn to. She writes in a raw, simple yet scathingly humorous way that manages to present dark and ‘taboo’ topics, such as suicide, in a refreshingly open yet often cynical way. This was a woman whose hedonistic socialite lifestyle bleeds through into her work; through her observations on relationships and men, wryly presented as metaphors and hyperbole, I truly experienced the strength of her exasperation and deep sadness.

The bittersweet irony of a picture-perfect lifestyle being tainted with sadness or dissatisfaction is a well-versed topic in novels such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, yet the lyricism presented by Parker’s poetry and the true honesty of her work has always spoken to me much more. A woman known for her witticisms and dismissiveness, it is easy to be grabbed by the multitude of self-deprecating, observant pieces to be found within her collection. This is the only selection of her work I currently own, but I plan on extending this as soon as I can.

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