Friday, April 06, 2012

The Pink Hotel

By Dorothy Erskine and Patrick Dennis

The Pink Hotel, located between Palm Beach and Miami, is a resort for folks looking to get away from winter's chill. It is run by J. Arthur Wenton, an old man with social pretensions who has an eye for young, attractive men. Mary Street is his secretary and she is a sweet, young girl that Wenton just naturally despises. He does his best to make her time at work miserable, so much so that she is seriously thinking of leaving Florida and moving back home. The only thing that really stops her are her feelings for the assistant director of the hotel, Purcell. Purcell, in his thirties, has a reputation, and not a nice one. He frequently ends his evenings drunk and starts his mornings hung over. He likes Mary and wants to turn over a new leaf, if Wenton would just pay him a decent wage. But Wenton is not about to do anything that will enable Mary and Purcell to be happy together. For some reason, he feels Mary is a nobody and not good enough for Purcell. He will do his best and most devious to break them up.
Various others travel through the story, young, unhappy newlyweds; old, unhappy longly-weds, a retired doctor who performs an abortion on a pregnant maid at the hotel who had tried to do it herself and nearly bled to death; a woman getting a divorce who kills herself; a kitchen worker who is the carrier of an infectious disease, and so on.

This was a pretty good story, full of interesting characters. However, the blurbs on the cover described it as "hilarious," "outrageous," "mad," and "zany," which I didn't find it to be. In fact, parts of it are downright sad and depressing, like the woman who kills herself and the married couple who can't keep their hands off each other, or rather their fists off each other. But other than the fact it was not as funny as it was billed to be, I still enjoyed the book. And even though it was written in the 1950s, it didn't seem at all dated.

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