Book Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Book Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Arlet Cruz, Assistant Editor

DIARIES SEEM TO BE A THING OF THE PAST. Writing down one’s thoughts and day-to-day lives could be seen as a form of boredom or a waste of time. However, one female author in 1925 proved that diaries can be a useful tool for an incredible story. Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a collection of diary entries narrated by the female protagonist, Lorelai Lee, as she and her friend Dorothy take their charm and wit across an ocean. Loos’ writing transforms the stereotypical “dumb blonde” under misogynistic gazes into an independent and confident woman who uses her own objectification to her advantage. 

Anita Loos begins her tale with Lorelai explaining why she is writing her diary entries – to “educate” herself. Instantly,

Loos hits society with a shocker, as a blonde woman trying to educate herself – who happens to be exploiting men for money. Lorelai’s story continues from New York, to a cruise, to London and all the way to Paris. Throughout the plot, Lorelai and Dorothy find themselves with wealthy men, who believe that Lorelai is a person who needs saving, when in reality, she’s taking these conflicts  for her own profit. 

While Lorelai’s character is looked down upon, Loos popularizes the glamorous, exploiting, “dumb blonde” character. Lorelai’s interactions with wealthy, helpless men prove that she’s not as dumb as she makes herself out to be. Loos writing may not seem to be empowering women, but when diving into the text, readers can see that the story paints the opposite. Lorelai knows that she needs to survive in a male dominated world and although she could have a career, it would get her nowhere, especially in the 1920s. Therefore, Lorelai creates her own opportunities to travel and have money, no matter how “improper” it may seem to others. Loos’ work can be compared to other works during the decade such as The Great Gatsby, which was published the same year. The women in Fitzgerald’s novel are nearly the complete opposite of Loos’ characters. She may be a shopping addict with little intentions to “educate” herself, but in no way is Lorelai Lee, a “dumb blonde.”.

Readers will enjoy a fun, humorous and satirical read that will send them on a whirlwind of adventures including an interaction with the Prince of Wales, lavish drama and a diamond tiara that Lorelai sets her eyes on. Depending on the edition, readers can also see many humorous yet charming illustrations that make the novel even more appealing.

Many may feel as if the movie is enough to understand the full story that Loos wrote, but her novel is a masterpiece that is a completely different creation in itself. Readers and movie watchers can expect a lot from Loos writing as it is extremely engaging. It is a read that any “classic” or beginner reader needs to pick up.