Anita Loos created chick-lit with her funny, light novel "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." And the adventures of dizzy, shrewd Lorelei Lee continue in "Fate Keeps on Happening: Adventures of Lorelei Lee and Other Writings," along with somewhat more insightful nonfiction pieces.
First, Loos picks up the threads of Lorelei's life, introducing her somewhat jumbled thoughts on hairdressing, Prohibition, sex books, romance, and libraries. Typos and all. ("Early Greeks would not think of foistering so many on the Reading Publick by Authors who's viewpoints have become warped through being overly informed on their own subjeck") Not to mention a highly entertaining tale about Lorelei and Dorothy dealing with a crooked literary agent.
But Loos also handles her OWN life, and her nonfiction anecdotes show that unlike Lorelei, she had plenty of brains. She describes the events that led to her writing "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," how it was turned into a musical, thoughts on money, Jean Harlow, Colette, the status of blondes and how Communism affected them, and her observations about Hollywood.
The parts about Lorelei are fun until you read the various columns that Loos wrote over the course of her life -- then they seem somehow pale in comparison to the writer herself. Loos is dryly witty without being mean-spirited, and has a fun observation on almost anything.
Loos lived to be ninety-three, and wrote for most of that time. And her columns stretch from the 1920s into the 1980s -- including thoughts on the sexual revolution ("Sex, which has been acclaimed by too many misguided poets as a utopian activity, seldom attains that status in the human race"). While Loos changed some of her subjects, her writing still feels rooted in glamour, flappers and martinis.
The stories about Lorelei pall when you read Loos's columns. Funny, insightful and huge fun to read, this is perhaps even better than Loos's better-known novels.