The Standard of Living by Dorothy Parker

5/5 Stars

It’s been 2 weeks since my last review, but, now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’m excited to be writing reviews again! Not that it’s been that long, but still. I missed it.

This is a short story I read on my flight back from Germany. I was in the airport and had 20€  left in my pocket. That, of course, would not get me anything back home in the states and wasn’t even worth trying to convert back, since after the exchange rate and exchange fee I would have gotten barely any money back. So, naturally, I was trying to spend it on useless junk in the airport shop. But, I ended up coming across a book that was actually in English. Okay, there were a few books that were in English. (Although, The Girl on the Train was there, and I was totally going to buy it, but, of course, that one was in German.) Anyway, I ended up buying a compilation of short stories because it was only 9€ and had tons of short stories that have actually been on my to-read list for awhile. So, overall, this was actually a super awesome buy.


Now, finally, onto the review. The Standard of Living is a short story by Dorothy Parker*. It can be found in a few compilations including The Portable Dorothy Parker. I actually picked up a copy of TPDP at Half Price Books one day and am really looking forward to reading it in its entirety. I’ve heard references to it in a good amount of books I’ve read, so it’s definitely, eventually, a must read. After reading this story, my need to read all her works has only increased.

This is a short read that focuses on two working women who are not poor, per say, but are also not in ownership of extra spending money. The two women are good friends and play a game every day on their lunch break. They walk around the city and answer what they would buy if a millionaire were to die and in a random act of kindness leave them his fortune. This game gets these girls by while they are working their mediocre job. Until, that is, one of them dares the other to walk into a high-end shop and price a pearl necklace. What will happen when she walks back out sobered by how little money she actually has?

As you can see, a great deal is going on in this little story. There are plenty of things to analyze while reading. There is the fact that we have two women (that may I say have passed the Bechdel test) as the main protagonists. And, on top of that, two working women. This is a huge deal, since this story was originally published in 1941, around the time all the men were at war and women were starting having to work. Then, you get to analyze each character’s personality individually and how they effect how the two women interact together. Then, you can also take a look at the time period they are living in and what the implications of the time period have on their personalities and outlooks on life.

Needless to say, there is so much to look at in just a few pages of writing. The mark of a truly great short story.

I gave this short story 5/5 stars because it has so much going on and is great for the topic of feminism. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m quite into that.) I love that this is a short story about two women who are living during a man’s time at war. It doesn’t delve into what society was like for women who had to make their own living, but instead focusses on how these two women keep an optimistic outlook on life. It’s not about the big picture of society, it’s about the small one. And that small picture is two women who are friends and working together and how they cope with their situations.

I feel like I’m not writing a very structured review here, and I’m sorry. I just really enjoy talking about this short story and all it’s great aspects and that causes me to get a bit flustered. I’m trying to sound as coherent as possible, I swear. I think I’m going to wrap this up now, though, since I don’t really have too much else to say. (Okay, that’s a lie. I could talk about this short story for probably a solid hour, so if you want to discuss it further, feel free to hit me up.)

All in all, I highly recommend this short read. It is definitely worth your time. I absolutely urge you to read it if you are into feminism, women’s issues/topics/studies, and/or my review sparked some interest in you. I am looking forward to starting my copy of TPDP soon, and will then have more to say about this wonderful woman.

As always, thanks for reading. Hope you’re as glad as I am that reviews are coming out again! Here are my other social media sites in case you’re interested in following, adding, and/or chatting: Tumblr, Goodreads,Instagram.

*If you are interested, you can find the text at this link to read for free.


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