Patty Friedmann, the reigning queen of black comedy, hits it  out of the park with each of her novels. Humorous and heartbreaking, she is adept at capturing that quirky combination of love and resentment her characters feel, that I am sure a lot of us are familiar with in our own lives. Enjoy!

Pick-Up Line: A New Orleans Love Story
Patty Friedmann
4.0 Stars (27 Reviews)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Literary Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Romance


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.

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Secondhand Smoke: A Wickedly Dark Comedy
Patty Friedmann
4.5 Stars (15 Reviews)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Humor & Satire | Women’s Fiction


…to just about everyone–particularly her adult children. Fortunately, poison is the very superfood of the satirist. Patty Friedmann, the reigning queen of black comedy, hits one out of the park with her family straight out of Tolstoy–unhappy in its own way, a uniquely twisted Southern way.

Meet the Baileys. Born and bred in a working class New Orleans neighborhood, Zib and Wilson think the thick cloud of cigarette smoke enveloping their mother is what probably killed their father. Certainly the toxicity of Jerusha’s dark, cynical attitudes has driven her children far from the nest. Wilson has escaped to Chicago, married a woman who hates him, converted to Judaism, and become a decorated professor of Organic Evolution. Zib, almost forty, has made it only as far as the Florida Panhandle, where she’s an assistant manager at the local Winn-Dixie, doomed to fending off a sleazy boss given to late night phone calls. Only one person, obviously as isolated as she is, shows Jerusha any affection: Dustin Puglia, chubby, wise, and fearless, a ten-year-old living next door with a poisonous mother of his own.

Although Wilson and Zib have forged independent lives away from their mother—as well as each other—their father’s death brings them back together for a darkly droll, yet heart-wrenching round of domestic insanity. Does it remind you of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY? Or THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS? Patty Friedmann got there first! And she’s just as funny and observant.

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Too Jewish
Patty Friedmann
4.1 Stars (263 Reviews)
Genre: Drama & Plays | World Literature | Literary Fiction


…but love kept them together… The Powerful Love Story of a Jewish-American Family

Like Patty Friedmann’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.”

(And somewhat autobiographical: Too Jewish tells a story much like the central tale of Patty Friedmann’s young life: her father suffered from survivor guilt, all the while trying to make his way in a hostile society.)

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A Little Bit Ruined: Eleanor Rushing #2: Eleanor Meets Hurricane Katrina (The Eleanor Rushing Series)
Patty Friedmann
4.8 Stars (10 Reviews)
Genre: Humor & Satire | Contemporary Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense


It’s been seven years, and Eleanor Rushing is still waiting for Maxim Walters, the love of her life, to leave his wife and move into her rambling mansion on St. Charles Avenue. But when she meets Dr. Richard Kimball—tall, dark, handsome, and a plastic surgeon—her life takes on a whole new direction. Smitten, she decides to go under his knife to alter her looks, and her life. But the summer of 2005 has other plans in store and Hurricane Katrina interrupts Eleanor’s transformation.

As the water rises, self-absorbed Eleanor, thinking only skin deep, floats on the surface of the disaster. She and her longtime housekeeper Naomi wade through the flooded streets of New Orleans, and wind up in Houston along with Dr. Kimball, who gives Eleanor more plastic surgery—with questionable results. Finally home in New Orleans, she finds Katrina has put a different face on things there too.

Because this is Patty Friedmann writing, there are a lot of laughs in delusions, mental illness, and outright ruination: Not so much because anyone finds it funny, as because Freidmann, who herself had to be rescued twice during Katrina and who in turn rescued cat named Nookie, can put a humorous spin on anything. Case in point: Who names a cat Nookie?

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Too Jewish: The Next Generation
Patty Friedmann
5.0 Stars (8 Reviews)
Genre: World Literature | Coming of Age

Formerly titled THE EXACT IMAGE OF MOTHER, this dark tragicomedy is the sequel to Patty Friedmann’s perennial kindle bestseller, TOO JEWISH.

Originally titled The Exact Image of Mother, Too Jewish: The Next Generation tells the darkly comic coming-of-age tale of heroine Darby Cooper, the only child of a Holocaust survivor father, who at 30 is still siphoning through a mountain of anger at a narcissistic mother and a quickly declining senile grandmother. Caught between the Cooper matriarchs and her hard-working father, Darby’s alienation isn’t helped by her discovery that her rich maternal grandparents could have saved her father’s mother from the concentration camps … but did not. Nor is she particularly “at home” in her hometown–always having felt an outsider in largely Catholic New Orleans, she feels estranged from the small, wealthy Jewish community into which she was born.

Family drama aside, 30 has another trick up its sleeve: a ticking biological clock. Darby decides she wants a child, so she goes about fulfilling this desire in typically madcap fashion. But it’s impending motherhood that makes Darby realize she must break with her own mother, leave New Orleans, and finally grow up.

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