An exuberant group portrait of four
extraordinary writers - Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St.
Vincent Millay, and Edna Ferber - whose loves, lives, and literary
endeavors captured the spirit of the 1920s.
Marion Meade recreates the aura of excitement, romance, and promise of
the 1920s, a decade celebrated for cultural innovation - the birth of
jazz, the beginning of modernism - and social and sexual liberation,
bringing to light, as well, the anxiety and despair that lurked beneath
the nonstop partying and outrageous, unconventional behavior. The
literary heroines in Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin did what they wanted,
said what they thought. They drank gallons of cocktails and knew how to
have fun in New York, the Riviera, and Hollywood, where they met and
played with all the people worth knowing. They kicked open the door for
twentieth-century female writers and set a new model for every woman
trying to juggle the serious issues of economic independence, political
power, and sexual freedom.
In a style and tone that perfectly captures the jazzy rhythms and
desperate gaiety that defined the era, Meade tells the individual
stories of Parker, Fitzgerald, Millay, and Ferber, traces the
intersections of their lives, and describes the men - including F. Scott
Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson, Harold Ross, and Robert Benchley - who
influenced them, loved them, and sometimes betrayed them. She describes
their social and literary triumphs and writes movingly of the penances
they paid: the crumbled love affairs, abortions, depression, lost
beauty, nervous breakdowns, and finally, overdoses and even madness.
Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle.