Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club discussion of Can You Ever Forgive Me?
What did you think of this section? I thought one of the most interesting things from this section was that the title of the book came from a forged Dorothy Parker line that Lee Israel wrote. Did you catch that detail? I thought that was really bold that Israel named the book for one of her forgeries.
Typewriters play an important role in this section. I thought it was so cool that Israel got different typewriters so her letters could have the same look as the people she was impersonating. I never really thought about typewriters having different fonts. Israel mentions that the first old typewriter she bought was a Royal typewriter. If you're interested to see what Royal typewriters looked like, check out Machines of Loving Grace, a site that has tons of information and pictures about different typewriters. I especially like the look of the Hermes typewriters. What do you think about their cool color?
Are you impressed how Israel created a light box to help her create the signatures for the letters? I thought it was pretty ingenious to use the old, broken television in this way. I also cringed reading about it, since I knew she was using it to commit a crime.
Israel mentions selling her first letters to the Argosy Book Store. The bookstore is still in existence, and it has a huge selection of autographed letters, books, and photos available on their website. Take a look and see if you find any interesting autographs. I loved the signed letter from Victor Hugo, and the signed photograph from Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Aren't they cool?
In this section, Israel talks the most about forging letters from Dorothy Parker and Louise Brooks. I didn't know anything about Louise Brooks before starting this book, so I had to do a little research about her. Have you watched any of her movies? The Louise Brooks Society website has tons of information about her if you're interested. She had such a distinct look—I really enjoyed seeing her style and hairstyles in some of the photos. Check out the biography page to learn more about her, or check out the films page to learn more about each film in which she appeared.
I've read a bit of Dorothy Parker's work, but I don't know enough about her to appreciate the letters that Israel included in the text. I knew that Dorothy Parker had an incredible wit (scroll down on this article to see what she chose for her epitaph), but that's pretty much all I knew about her. I found the The Dorothy Parker Society website informative, so check that out if you're interested in learning more.
Do you feel sorry for Israel as you're reading? Are you curious to see how her story will end? Do you wish she seemed more sorry for her crimes?
I hope you are excited to finish the book for next week. I'm also interested to hear what you thought of these chapters. Leave a comment to share your impressions!