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A Little Bit Ruined: A Novel Hardcover – February 24, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 1ST edition (February 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761455
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,674,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this uneven sequel to Eleanor Rushing (1995), Eleanor is as entertaining as ever—her delusions about the intentions of her friends and acquaintances are painful and endearing—but is perhaps the wrong narrator to drop into post-Katrina New Orleans. Born and bred in the Crescent City, Eleanor is still waiting to be united with the married Maxim Walters and clinging to the belief that her parents died in a plane crash (and not in the car crash that left her face scarred), but she soon abandons her devotion to Maxim to pursue physical perfection ("z-plasty" on her face, breast augmentation, a fateful and ill-considered liposuction) and the sexy plastic surgeon, Dr. Ricky Kimball, whom she meets at a fund-raiser. Their love affair, however, lacks the intensity of her earlier, deranged one-sided fixation on Maxim. When Hurricane Katrina hits, the novel arrives at its emotional core: Eleanor is intent on riding out the storm, but she and a few other holdouts (including her housekeeper and confidant, Naomi) are forced to evacuate as the city floods. Eleanor's bittersweet homecoming lacks resonance, and though she is undeniably damaged, her self-inflicted ruin isn't the right metaphor for a demolished city. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This sequel to Eleanor Rushing (2000) finds our eponymous heroine once again deluded by her fixation on a man, in this case the unfortunately named Dr. Richard Kimball, a shady plastic surgeon. After undergoing a disastrous breast-implant operation (she wakes up during surgery), Eleanor refuses to listen to the advice of her friends, including her longtime black housekeeper, the hilarious Naomi. Instead, she schedules even more extensive cosmetic surgery, but her elaborate plans are deterred by the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Nothing can persuade her to leave her beloved New Orleans, although she insists on moving into Naomi's crowded rental house to ride out the storm, and the two eventually decamp to Houston as the floodwaters rise. Although the novel's opening scenes are slow and somewhat fragmented in tone, the author hits her stride as her pampered, endearing, pain-in-the-butt heroine is forced to deal with overwhelming circumstances. Eleanor's loopy conversations with Naomi are the comic highlight of a novel that is also bittersweet in its depiction of the damaged Eleanor and her wrecked hometown. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Patty Friedmann's most recent appearance on Amazon is with Pick-Up Line, an electronic version of a novel that almost was lost in 2006 in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Pick-Up Line follows her electronic bestseller Too Jewish that also came out from booksBnimble in 2010. She is now back with her darkly humorous literary fiction after two YA novels No Takebacks and Taken Away. Friedmann is the author of A Little Bit Ruined, Side Effects (now Pick-Up Line), Secondhand Smoke, Eleanor Rushing, and Odds, all currently in print from Counterpoint, and of The Exact Image of Mother (Viking 1991) and Too Smart to Be Rich (New Chapter 1988). This year her An Organized Panic took first runner-up out of 406 novel entries in the Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition. 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 a new book titled An Organized Panic took second place out of 406 entries in the novel category of the William Falulkner-William Wisdom literary competition in 2012. In 2009 Oxford American included her Secondhand Smoke with Gone With the Wind, Deliverance, and A Lesson Before Dying as one of the 30 Most Underrated Southern Books. Patty is the mother of Esme Roberson and Werner Friedmann II and the grandmother of Summer Roberson and Kennedy and Carmine Friedmann.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By NOLA refugee on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To this day, this is the only novel that accurately portrays the landscaped of post-Katrina New Orleans, and I'm amazed it hasn't gotten more recognition. I grew up in New Orleans, but left before the storm, and in a way I felt a bit left out not being there during its transformative moment. This confirms the picture of it that all my friends related to me, but does so in a way that makes me feel like I was there. New Orleans is the most beautiful and unique city in America, and anyone who wants to understand it a little better should read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Slater on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the 1st Patty Friedmann book I've read and it makes me want to go out and buy all of her books. I loved it. Eleanor Rushing, the protagonist, is hysterical. Like most New Orleaneans, she's a real character. The publishers weekly review claimes that the self inflicted ruination of Eleanor isn't the right metaphor for the post Katrina ruined New Orleans, but I'm not so sure that is the author's intent. Perhaps Eleanor isn't supposed to so much represent New Orleans, as she is really more like the levee systems in which billions of dollars were spent to creat the perfect protection for New Orleans and yet they failed miserably. And the sleezy doctor who perfomed the plastic surgery was the levee board and the corps of engineers. And Tina was Houston. Naomi, now she might just be the metaphor for New Orleans, or at least the New Orleaneans who can't be fooled by anyone. In any case, Eleanor really proves her self worth in this book and I look forward to reading more about her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor Goodman on April 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Friedmann truly has the pulse of New Orleans. No doubt New Orleans has a certain wackiness, perhaps several brands of it, and it's hard to pick up it , unless you lived there a bit, and hung out with some of it's characters-

I imagine there are a few books, if not many written about Katrina, but perhaps none other communicate the impact on people better than Eleanor Rushing,did in this excellent read " A Little Bit Ruined." Highly recommended- great prose.

I also read her book "Eleanor Rushing" some amazing scenes - and an ending that has left me confused ( in a good way) to this dayt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teresa on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have to wonder why the reviewer from Publishers Weekly calls Eleanor "the wrong narrator to drop into post-Katrina New Orleans." Does that have anything to do with the literary merit of the novel? There are as many different kinds of people living in post-Katrina N.O. as there were living in it pre-Katrina, and each one has his or her own story. I am a N.O. native, as is Patty, and Patty got it right, all of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stepping on Cracks on April 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Normally we think of a hurricane as a weather event, but that’s not the whole story when the hurricane is Katrina and New Orleans the target.  Failed electricity and rising water brought all sorts of things outdoors — not the least of which was the manic, dangerously funny Patty Friedmann forced to swim for her life.  If I’m ever hauled out of a flood, I'd count it a lucky day if Patty was waiting in the boat.  Put this book in your survival kit.
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