Published by: Old Stone Press, 2017
Paperback: 230 pages
Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.52 x 8.5 inches
AN ORGANIZED PANIC sets sister against brother, born secular humanist against later-in-life evangelical Christian. The sibling squabble underscores a serious struggle, certainly, but this is another tale told in the darkly humorous Friedmann voice--and set in the New Orleans only a native would know. The manuscript took second place in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in late 2012 and could be her best storytelling yet. Friedman will challenge you to think about our own belief system as she "....opens our conversation on the sympathetic atheist narrator."
Ronald Price runs a lucrative crime-scene cleaning operation called JesusCleanup. His sister, narrator Cesca Price, is baffled: they grew up in a thoroughly secular household. When Cesca and her mother Trisha have Thanksgiving dinner at Ronald's house, a meal marked by praises to Jesus and recipes loaded with sodium from canned soups, mother Trisha has a stroke, and Cesca embarks on struggles with her brother. Cesca is a painter of national repute, and in the coming weeks she has to juggle responsibility for her mother, a coming show at the Getty, and an interview with PBS host Tevor Souriante —plus a nascent friendship with her mother's doctor Michael Rosenthal. When Trisha dies, Ronald wants to use his half of the estate to buy a huge empty church to start a ministry. Is Ronald a charlatan, which means he is a crook but at least a man of reason—or is he a good Christian but no longer the man of reason who grew up with Cesca? Either way, she says no. So Ronald sues her—unsuccessfully—to remove her as executrix. Two days later she does her interview with Tevor Souriante, still fuming about her brother, not knowing the camera is rolling. Bolstered by her romance with Michael, Cesca finally realizes that Ronald prizes money above all else. In the end, Ronald and Cesca will have to face each other down in court, and each will have to try to prove the other is not above board. Has Cesca libeled Ronald and ruined his livelihood and thus owes him millions? Or is Cesca right, that he dupes innocent people, and it's okay to make it public? That resolved, what will the Price family be without Trisha?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patty Friedmann's latest work is a collection of her finest short stories, Where Do They All Come From? published by Sartoris Literary. Her just-published novel is An Organized Panic, another of her edgy, darkly humorous, New Orleans-set literary works, this one from Old Stone Press. In keeping with her no-holds-barred voice, she had recently re-released her 1987 humor book, Too Smart to Be Rich, as a "gift" to those with similar political views--labeling it Too Rich to Be Smart. She is the author of the perennial Amazon e-bestseller Too Jewish, and an earlier novel published by Viking Penguin, The Exact Image of Mother, was re-released as its sequel Too Jewish: the Next Generation, both from booksBnimble. Now the new Do Not Open for Fifty Years appears in both electronic and print format as the third in the Too Jewish trilogy from BBN. BBN has reissued as e-books several Friedmann novels that had appeared in print: Pick-Up Line (formerly Side Effects from Counterpoint) which almost was lost in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; A Little Bit Ruined (Counterpoint); Secondhand Smoke, Eleanor Rushing, Odds (all Counterpoint); and Too Smart to Be Rich, humor (New Chapter Press).Right after Katrina she wrote two YA novels No Takebacks and Taken Away (TSP). In 2001-2002, she was writer-in-residence at Tulane University. Patty has reviewed for Publishers Weekly, Brightleaf, Short Story, and the Times-Picayune; her short stories have appeared in Horn Gallery, Short Story, LaLit, Xavier Review, and elsewhere; and she has had essays in Oxford American, Speakeasy, and New Orleans Review. Stage productions under the direction of Carl Walker are The Accidental Jew and Lovely Rita. She was included in The Great American Writers Cookbook and Christmas Stories from Louisiana in 2003, as well as in the collections My New Orleans in 2005, Intersections in 2006, Life in the Wake and New Orleans Noir in 2007, and Something in the Water in 2011. The manuscript of An Organized Panic took second place out of 406 entries in the novel category of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom literary competition in 2012. In 2009 Oxford American included Secondhand Smoke with Gone With the Wind, Deliverance, and A Lesson Before Dying as one of the 30 Most Underrated Southern Books. In late 2017, she was given the distinguished ALIHOT (A Legend In His/Her Own Time) medal at the annual Faulkner Conference. Patty is the mother of Esme Roberson and Werner Friedmann II and the grandmother of Summer Roberson and Kennedy and Carmine Friedmann
"Her ability to create believable characters about whom the reader cares is steller. Even the lawyers who represent the Price siblings in their dispute are real people. Readers won't be able to put down this engrossing read until the final page." --Andrea Kempf, Library Journal
"Lip-smackingly irreverent! If you have to deal with pious relatives, you will love Cesca's triumph over her sanctimonious brother. Reading Friedmann is not like reading anyone else." --Dan Barker, co-resident, Freedom From Religion Foundation
"Like a mischievous taxidermist, Friedmann uses death as a backdrop to taunt the living with her unblinking wit." --Johnny Rosenthal, Bad Santa 2
"Patty Friedmann's An organized Panic gets you thinking about family, spirituality, false prophets and holiday dinners while plunging you into the muggy climate of New Orleans and its undercurrent of dry wit and sensual satisfaction. Prepare for a visceral and visual journey that glides you into an ending of surprise mixed with a feeling of 'of course.' " --Marcia Kavanaugh, moderator, Informed Soruces
"In An Oganized Panic, Patty Friedmann is revisiting familiar turf--a dysfunctional family in Uptown New Orleans--but there's a difference in addition to the discerning pointed observations we've come to expect from her, this book offers welcome amounts of tenderness and humor, and a heck of a page-turner to bring the story to close." --John Pope, reporter and author of Getting Off at Elysian Fields: A Collection of Obituaries from the Times-Picayune
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