Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Today’s readers prefer film

When she was 25, Anita Loos made a list of clichés about blondes and turned them into the 1926 bestseller, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Loos presents the story as a diary kept by Lorelei Lee. The technique allows Loos to reveal how ignorant, self-centered, and morally bankrupt Lorelei is.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Ralph Barton, Illus. 217 p. 1926 bestseller #2. My grade: C-.

dush facket shows blonde woman with bouffant hairdo holding huge diamond.Lorelei has a steady gentleman friend, Mr. Eisman, a Chicago button wholesaler, whose interest in Lorelei is, she says, “because I always want to improve my mind.”

Lorelei considers dumping Eisman when he fails to give her diamonds for her birthday. However, when Eisman dangles the opportunity of a trip to Paris, Lorelei can’t resist the chance to improve her mind and do some shopping.

Lorelei takes along her friend Dorothy who has been abroad before. Dorothy is a rocket scientist compared to Lorelei, who regards Dorothy as ill-mannered and uneducated.

Lorelei’s diary needs to be envisioned to be appreciated. No surprise there: Loos spent most of her 60-year writing career working primarily in the film industry.

Loos laced the novel with contemporary references that are meaningless today, and her jokes feel tired and sophomoric.

The film version bears little resemblance to the novel. It stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, all good reasons to watch the film rather than read the book.

© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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