Friday, January 25, 2019
But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes
But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes / Anita Loos; illustrated by Ralph Barton.
New York: Penguin, 1998, c1927.
This is Part Two in this edition of Loos collected works about Lorelei. I read Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the fall, and so just had to read the next one to see what happened next.
Well, what happened was a sequel to a hit novel that does not live up to the original.
In this story, Lorelei is married but still carrying on much as usual; meeting gentlemen, throwing parties, trying to get what she can out of men. Her friend Dorothy is still giving practical advice, this time telling Lorelei that having a child as soon as possible will cement her advantageous marriage, then she can do what she wants again.
The story turns out to be a lot more about Dorothy, her past, her present, and the future which Lorelei is working hard to make happen, since she wants Dorothy as well settled as she herself now is. But Dorothy is a tiny bit more realistic than Lorelei's rather flighty character and so there is more of a serious undertone -- at times -- than there was in the first story.
There is still the funny flippancy and the winks at the reader which appeared in the first book. There is social commentary of a sort, and definitely lots of 'innocent' comments on the state of women in this society. It was still entertaining to read about Lorelei and Dorothy's shenanigans, the parties that last all night, the way they make themselves the centre of attention in déclassé ways which they think are charming and delightful. While it wasn't as sparkling and funny as the first, it gave a nice sense of continuation and a bit more depth to these two characters.
I wouldn't recommend reading both of these right back to back as you may tire of the style and the characters. But as a refreshing interlude between more serious reading, both of these books sparkle and entertain.