Too Jewish

| April 27, 2013


Too Jewish


Top 10 Best Jewish Fiction Books: Boomer Book Series

“A powerful and emotional story of a Jewish family here in America.” -Life in Review

“The Friedmann comic voice is filled with so much anger, outrage, astonishment, fear, resentment, and unleashed id that we readers nearly fall out of our chairs in wonder and laughter and shock.” -Oxford American

“Patty Friedmann may be the greatest New Orleans author of the past quarter century. If you like New Orleans, if you’re interested in its Jewish community or Southern life or simply the rhythms of America’s most unique city, you’ll love Too Jewish. And even if you don’t give a hoot about NOLA and its Jews, buy Too Jewish for another reason: it’s a great read.” -Failed Messiah

Walker Percy “once wrote that ‘the next Southern literary revival will be led by a Jewish mother, which is to say, a shrewd self-possessed woman with a sharp eye and a cunning retentive mind who sees the small triumphs and tragedies around her and has her own secret method of rendering it, with an art all her own.’ And that is totally Patty Friedmann.” -Anne Gisleson, Signposts in a Strange Land

What You’re Buying:

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.

A bittersweet love story told in three novellas, each from the point of view of one member of the Cooper family. Think The Time Traveler’s Wife. Definitely a love story; definitely not a “romance.”

Honors and Blurbs for Other Books:

Eleanor Rushing—Discover Great New Writers

Eleanor Rushing—Original Voices

Secondhand Smoke—BookSense 76

Taken Away—Small Press Book of the Year Award (ForeWord) Finalist

Secondhand Smoke—list of 30 Most Underrated Southern Books in Oxford American, along with Gone with the Wind, A Lesson Before Dying, Deliverance:

Secondhand Smoke—“A Confederacy of Dunces meets The Corrections … Both funny and sad, this novel deserves the wild popularity it is sure to achieve.”—Library Journal

Eleanor Rushing—“Intriguing and touching…One finishes [Eleanor Rushing] impressed by Friedmann’s compassion for human frailty.—Publishers Weekly

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