Author Patty Friendman’s writing is both brilliant and elegant, and I am sure you will enjoy these three dazzling novels, with characters that are sure to linger in your heart long after the final chapters are read.
Too Jewish: The Powerful Love Story of a Jewish-American Family
Genre: Drama & Plays | World Literature | Literary Fiction
Patty Friedmann had that sad childhood that is pretty much a prerequisite for a novelist. She’s written seven darkly comic novels–and finally she draws on the autobiographical material that made it all possible.
Too Jewish tells a story much like the central tale of her young life: her father suffered from survivor guilt, all the while trying to make his way in a hostile society. Like Patty’s father, young, brainy protagonist Bernie Cooper escapes Nazi Germany and ends up in New Orleans, where he finds an entirely new kind of prejudice against Jews—the kind that comes from other Jews. Sadly, they’re his own in-laws.
At first this strikes him only as petty and small-minded, but he has no idea how much hatred his scheming mother-in-law can wring from the situation. She knows, for instance, that he had to leave behind his beloved mother, and she uses his mother’s life and memory as a lever against him, eventually causing him physical and mental problems that threaten his family’s well-being in every possible way and thwart him at every turn.
Thus, Bernie and Letty’s daughter Darby is born into the most peculiar of mixed marriages, torn, as her mother is, between loyalty to her grandparents and to her father. Even she, at her tender age, wonders whether Letty’s love–and her own–can save Bernie from the secret pain and guilt of surviving the Holocaust. And from the machinations of his cruel mother-in-law.
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Pick-Up Line: A New Orleans Love Story (Formerly Side Effects)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Literary Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Romance
ROMANCE IS THE BEST PAIN-KILLER…
Cupid’s working overtime in the unlikely venue of N.O. Drugs, where plus-sized beauty Ciana Jambon works with dread-locked pharmacy student Lennon Israel, who’s so handsome, so meticulous he just has to be gay. But she can’t help herself—she’s got the crush of the century. Unbeknownst to her, Lennon’s carrying his own torch. Family problems distract both of them (alongside the true New Orleans oddballs who scuffle between the Seasonal Specials and Depends aisles) until tragedy leaves Ciana reeling. Lennon wonders if there’s a murderer in her clan, and he’s pretty sure he’s the only one who can help. What woman can resist a knight in shining armor?
Friedmann’s witty portrayal of Ciana’s and Lennon’s families from hell, as well as the deliciously dysfunctional relatives of their wise co-worker, Vendetta Greene, will have you laughing out loud as well as nodding in recognition.
WARNING: This is anything but a formula romance. But it is a great love story—and the perfect prescription for anyone feeling tired, rundown, and depressed from reading the same old thing over and over again. The only side effect is a slight watering of the eyes as the first tender shoots of love start to bud and blossom.
A veritable (prescription drug) cocktail of Walker Percy’s southern elegance laced with the zany black comedy of the Silver Linings Playbook.
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Eleanor Rushing:A NewOrleans Comedy of Erotomania (The Eleanor Rushing Series)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Literary Fiction | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Surrounded by the splendor and excess of old money in New Orleans, Eleanor Rushing is a wry and witty young woman who first locks eyes with the love of her life at a City Council meeting—or so we’re led to believe. What starts as an innocuous infatuation with Dr. Maxim Walters, a Methodist minister who just so happens to be married already, quickly turns into an outrageous and obsessive passion: she orchestrates an automobile accident outside his house, volunteers to stuff envelopes at his church, follows him to Nashville on a business venture, sets up camp in the toolshed in his backyard…
Eleanor’s voice is both acutely perceptive and macabrely unhinged. She considers herself blessed with the ability to “remember everything,” except that her recollections and impressions seem to be at odds with everyone around her. As her “relationship” with Dr. Walters begins to spin frantically out of control, we can’t help being her willing and faithful admirers.
Magnificently showcases Friedmann’s touted powers of psychological acuity and laugh-out-loud black humor.
A fitting Kindle addition for fans of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.
I think it is impossible to change the world unless you are truly evil and so mad for control you never sleep. And it’s ridiculous to try to change yourself at all. Scientists have studied identical twins who feel pain in the gut at the same time, as if everything were laid out from the moment they were conceived. Sometimes I figure all you can do is watch yourself, as if you’re viewing a simple, dull film; eventually you find out what was going to happen. Unless death catches you by surprise.
So I go to City Council meetings. I haven’t missed one in four years, not even for a case of B-type influenza, which I probably picked up from a crowd in the City Council chambers. Sitting in those meetings is the only way I can pretend to feel any breezes of serendipity. Somewhere between the global and the personal, they play out the grandest battles of silliness, and I like to guess at them. When I was twenty-three I lived in Washington, DC and sat in regularly on the proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives. But they mumbled and shuffled a lot, and you couldn’t see their eyes unless they passed close by. It was good to learn about carcinogens in the Iowa corn after the drought and how the turnips in western Montana swelled like giant melons for years after Mount Saint Helens blew, and I believed money should be set aside to study such matters, but I couldn’t see the congressmen’s eyes. So I came home to New Orleans.
Maxim denies it, but we saw each other for the first time at a New Orleans City Council meeting. It had been going on for four hours, a Thursday, last October, with no break, and the chamber was full of angry people, all brimming with piss and hunger. It was shaping up to be one of the best, with a chance of violence.
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