Works by Patty Friedmann

An Organized Panic

Sister is set against brother, born secular humanist against later-in-life evangelical Christian. In the end, Cesca and Ronald will have to face each other down, and each will have to try to prove the other is not above board. The sibling squabble underscores a serious struggle, certainly, but this is another tale told in the humorous Friedmann voice–and set in the New Orleans only a native would know. The manuscript took second place in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition.

Where Do They All Come From?

Due for release from Sartoris Literary, this collection includes the best of Friedmann’s short stories, some prize-winners, some new, some stand-alone pieces from her most memorable novel. The novel was compared to a Confederacy of Dunces; Friedmann knows Toole’s New Orleans.

DNOFFYcover_100x160Do Not Open for Fifty Years

booksBnimble, May 2014
Available from:  |
Do Not Open for Fifty Years Press Mentions

The theme [of the interview] was perfect, her agent said, the comparison between the Holocaust and Hurricane Katrina. “I think that’s a disgusting comparison,” Darby said.

Darby Cooper, the daughter of Bernie and Letty whom we met in Too Jewish, has become a bestselling New Orleans author after the turn of the millennium, drawing on the tragedy of her father’s life. It’s no wonder she feels her total losses in Katrina pale in comparison to those of Bernie: Do Not Open for Fifty Years takes its title from Bernie’s wish to shield young Darby from his oral histories of the Holocaust. But those memories have haunted her since before his tragic death in the early 1960s.

This is the story of Darby’s late-in-life triumphs, over Letty’s selfishness, her daughter’s petulance, and perhaps most of all the obliviousness of cruel schoolmates. Letty has gone missing after the storm, leaving Darby perplexed and ambivalent. Daughter Honor has come back from evacuating to Florida with a man who goes against all Darby stood for in the prequel to this book, Too Jewish: the Next Generation. And while she struggles in temporary quarters in storm-wrecked New Orleans, Darby has to face long-lost high-school classmates who want to reunite, even though they were responsible for her father’s death decades before.

Darby’s grief and bewilderment are the reader’s, but they are easily tempered by her quick wit and humorous take at even the darkest moments.

throughthewindshieldThrough The Windshield: An Extremely Controversial Dark Comedy

(Previously Eleanor Rushing: A Novel published by Counterpoint Press)
booksBnimble, July 31, 2014
Available from:  |

The FIRST of two books featuring troubled, fearlessly funny Eleanor Rushing, each a cockeyed (yet charming) work of literary humor by Kindle bestselling author Patty Friedmann.

***WARNING*** To open these pages is not to enter Disneyland! Before you purchase Through the Windshield, please be aware that the journey you’re about to take may remind you a bit of Alice’s in Through the Looking Glass. Know that, while loved by many, this is an extremely controversial work of dark comedy. One reader said: “Not what I was expecting…the theme & tone of the story was dark/disturbed.” Heed this man’s words! This reviewer was also right: “Very interesting with a twist. Though it’s not for everyone, it sure grasps the attention for the right audience.” Yes, a twist! If you need bluebirds and honeymoons, seek entertainment elsewhere. Remember Alice’s words in that other twisted work of genius: “Everything is topsy-turvy here!”

Oh, and one other thing: Your money back if it’s too disturbing for you. Direct your request (as well as anything you need to get off your chest) to Friedmann’s publisher. We’ll also give you a free book of your choice. But whether it’s your cup of tea or not,Through the Windshield remains to many discerning readers:

A tour de force whose heroine falls somewhere between the Southern elegance of Walker Percy and the zany dark comedy of The Confederacy of Dunces. Here’s the set-up:

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. What starts as an innocuous infatuation with Dr. Maxim Walters, a Methodist minister who just so happens to be married, quickly turns into obsessive passion: she orchestrates an automobile accident outside his house, stuffs envelopes at his church, follows him on a business venture, sets up camp in the tools shed 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. By the time her “relationship” with Dr. Walters begins to spin frantically out of control, we’ve become her willing and faithful admirers. She’s so smart and funny—although a thoroughgoing fruitcake—that we can’t help but love her. Don’t we all have a friend like that?

Magnificently showcases Friedmann’s touted powers of psychological acuity and laugh-out-loud dark humor.

Who will like it: Fans of contemporary literary humor, especially in Southern fiction; humor and satire in general, and in particular The Silver Linings Playbook, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Catch-22, Running with Scissors; masters of dark, offbeat humorous fiction like Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore—and of course the New Orleans hometown favorite, John Kennedy Toole.

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

“Friedmann’s latest subject is brilliant, bitterly funny, and deeply scary … the reader is seduced by that willful voice, wavering between shock and grudging admiration at Friedmann’s high-wire balancing act. And laughing all the way.” —The New Orleans Times-Picayune


(Previously The Exact Image of Mother published by Viking Penguin), July 11, 2014
Available from:  |

The New York Times called Too Jewish: The Next Generation “An oddball debut novel: the strong point is its variety of distinctly rendered voices.”

“A trio of eccentric women and the city of New Orleans come vividly alive in this diverting debut, an entertaining coming-of-age novel… Quirky, irreverent and irresistible.” —Publishers Weekly

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.

“Her original quirky voice never falters, imbuing this novel with a very Southern, rich and comic singularity.” —Publishers Weekly

“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


(Originally published in hardback by Counterpoint Press and in paperback by Berkley Penguin)
booksBnimble, April 8, 2014
Available from:  |

“A Confederacy of Dunces meets The Corrections in Friedmann’s warm and wacky tale of family dysfunction and redemption” —Library Journal

“The outrageous developments and swift pace make this novel hard to resist.” —Publishers Weekly

Jerusha’s poison…
…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.

Who Will Like It: Fans of off-beat dark comedies like August: Osage County, The Royal Tenenbaums, family dramas with a lot more humor than The Corrections, the incomparable Confederacy of Dunces, and another mistress of the twisted, Flannery O’Connor.

“Secondhand Smoke does not seek life in fancy words and clever euphemisms. It tingles because it’s raw and true… The way [Friedmann] carves a sentence gives you the sense that she’s always known how to do it.” —Critique Magazine

alittlebitruinedA LITTLE BIT RUINED: Eleanor Rushing #2: Eleanor Meets Hurricane Katrina
(The Eleanor Rushing Series)

(Originally published by Counterpoint Press)
bookbBnimble, January 4, 2014
Available from:  |

The second book in the Eleanor Rushing series.

“Eleanor is as entertaining as ever.” —Publishers Weekly

“… The author hits her stride as her pampered, endearing, pain-in-the-butt heroine is forced to deal with the overwhelming circumstances [of Hurricane Katrina].” —Booklist

Love (and cosmetic surgery) in a hurricane

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?

Who will like it: Fans of Silver Linings Playbook, Confederacy of Dunces, The United States of Tara, Tennessee Williams, with his vast understanding of the (slightly insane) female psyche, and Ellen Gilchrist.

pick-uplinePICK-UP LINE

(Previously Side Effects: A Love Story published by Counterpoint Press)
booksBnimble, November 12, 2013
Available from:  |

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.

“Friedmann’s charming story of the… affection among three diverse co-workers at a New Orleans pharmacy also now reads as a tribute to a unique American city.” —Publishers Weekly

“The story is by turns humorous and heartbreaking, and the author is adept at capturing that quirky combination of love and resentment that characterizes so many families. Friedmann’s themes of sibling rivalry and unlikely friendships will linger with readers.” —School Library Journal

toojewishTOO JEWISH, December 13, 2013
Available from:  |

A perennial Kindle bestseller!

Top 10 Best Jewish Fiction Books: Boomer Book Series

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

“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

Their own family tried to destroy their marriage…
…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.)

“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

See the trailer for Too Jewish.

NTfrontcover_100pxNO TAKEBACKS

Tiny Satchel Press, May 2012
Available from:

“Patty Friedmann downright tickles with her delivery, approaching serious subjects in fun, yet leaving us dazed and philosophical in the end.  Like her city, New Orleans, she’s ironic without the acrimony. No one does it better.” —Wendy and George Rodrigue, Blue Dog series

Otto Fisher has ADHD. He’s also adopted. At thirteen, he never has thought much about where he came from until his seventh-grade teacher at the prestigious St. Michael’s school in New Orleans asks her class to write about an ancestor. Each student must perform his piece in a school play. Otto’s adoptive mother, whom he adores, helps him write about one of her ancestors, who was in the Holocaust.

Otto’s story is the most moving of all—but not for his father, a college English professor who is also a racist and an anti-Semite.

The play triggers a series of conflicts in the Fisher household, culminating in Otto’s father beating his mother. Otto’s older sister, Ada, stops the fight. Then their father moves out. Which leaves Otto torn between the mother and sister he adores and the father he desperately needs. When he goes to visit his father, a series of events forces everyone in the Fisher family to question the meaning of family.

In this funny, bittersweet, poignant, and thoroughly engaging short novel, Otto narrates the story of his young life with humor, grace, and surprising insight.

takenaway_100TAKEN AWAY

Tiny Satchel Press, November 2010 (young adult)
Available from:  |  Barnes & Noble

When Summer Elmwood’s hot, bedraggled, exhausted family arrives unannounced at the door of her aunt’s elegant Houston house, her mother explains. “We’ve had a disaster. Not the hurricane, a real disaster.” It is one week after Katrina laid waste to the Elmwoods’ hometown of New Orleans, and like most residents, they were too close to the tragedy to see its scope. Besides, they were coping with a possible tragedy of their own, and only because their city has closed down have they evacuated. Summer’s baby sister disappeared the day the storm hit. With the help of a friend, Haydn Glade, who also is exiled in Texas, she picks up clues that the FBI ignores and eventually figures out what happened. Haydn, whom she “would be in love with if I didn’t love him so much,” seems a much more romantic boy in Texas. Summer has to decide how much.


Counterpoint Press, 2001
Available from:  |  Booksense  |  Barnes & Noble

Praise for Odds:

“There is a warmth, sweetness, and humor about this novel that hooks the reader early on, and Friedmann’s insights into domestic discord will ring many a marital bell. Her quirky imagination, bolstered by striking images and witty asides, grant this novel a potent immediacy.” —Publishers Weekly

“These are dark subjects, certainly, but Friedmann’s caustic style is hilariously funny.” —Booklist

“A novel with a fierce grip on the heart, Odds is tender but unflinching, sad but funny, a story of devotion as well as betrayal. Patty Friedmann writes with tremendous wit, wisdom, and a marksman’s eye for the telling details of human behavior.” —Carrie Brown, author of Lamb in Love

“Coincidences abound along the way…. What are the odds? In this elegant and unusual novel, they are very good indeed.” —Deborah Sussman Susser, The New York Times Book Review

“Friedmann’s latest subject is brilliant, bitterly funny, and deeply scary…. The reader is seduced by that willful voice, wavering between shock and grudging admiration at Friedmann’s high-wire balancing act. And laughing all the way.” —Susan Larson, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Anna Riggs Duffy and her husband, George, live in New Orleans with their two very different identical twins. One day there is a tragic accident, and Anna can save only one of the boys. In their grief, George turns to another woman while Anna turns to the slot machines in the waterfront casinos. How will she win George back, and does she really want to, anyway? In Odds, Patty Friedmann explores the darker sides of humor, love, and family.


New Chapter Press, 1988
Available from:  |  Booksense  |  Barnes & Noble

A cult classic, syndicated by the New York Times: the handbook for the yuffie, “young urban failure.”