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Throwing Roses Hardcover – July, 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 131 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Pr Pub Co; First Edition edition (July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 187794629X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1877946295
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,917,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Branda Raggan nearly dies in a car accident, her mother Margaret, a larger-than-life saloon-keeper and former country-western singer, does everything possible to help the 17-year-old cope with her head and knee injuries. Branda manages to survive pain, depression and Margaret's smothering attentions, but she succumbs to renewed despondency after she leaves the hospital and returns to her home above a Milwaukee bar. Margaret spends her savings to send her daughter to London for a six-week visit organized by Special Assistance Holidays ("special trips for people who need a little more help"), but Branda runs away from the group shortly after arriving. Rescued by Lady Sabrina, a 65 middle-aged transvestite with a heart of gold, Branda begins to appreciate life again. She helps out around the house, visits the cabaret where Lady Sabrina performs, moves among her mentor's gay and lesbian friends and learns what it means to love and to forgive. This deeply felt first novel works best when it examines the difficult mother-daughter relationship; the chapters about Lady Sabrina and homosexual experimentation seem slightly unreal in comparison. Nonetheless, Ridley offers nicely lyric writing throughout and some beautifully evoked moments of anger, depression and pain.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ridley's first novel deals with emotional and physical healing. After 17-year-old Brenda Raggan is badly injured in an auto accident, her mother, concerned about Brenda's depression, books her daughter on a "special needs" tour to London. Despite a severely injured leg, Brenda escapes from the tour and goes to live with Lady Sabrina, a transvestite performer and puppeteer who has rescued her from the London streets. Brenda comes to love and appreciate Sabrina, a skillfully rendered character, and his ministrations provide her with healing support and encouragement. In a rather abrupt ending, Brenda leaves Sabrina for Sam, a woman friend with whom she has been having a love affair. Ridley's unusual theme is marred by her poorly paced plot and the insensitive manner, not humorous to some people, in which she lampoons handicapped members of the special needs tour.
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Bascom on July 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story begins with seventeen-year old Branda Raggan hospitalized by a traffic accident, which gravely damaged one knee and jostled her brain. Branda's streetwise mother, the hard-drinking proprietor of a neighborhood bar in Milwaukee, worries over her only living child whose father skipped out long before the story begins. No friends visit Branda during her several weeks in the hospital; she has only her mom and mediocre therapy to help her wrestle with memory lapses, blackouts and a scrambled psyche. Branda is crippled; whereas the busted knee only hinders her physical advancement, her bruised mind obstructs her spiritual furtherance. Before she leaves the hospital however, Molly, a compassionate nurse, sneaks Branda into the elevator and they visit Katherine, a comatose girl whose parents are presumed dead. Katherine has been there seven years.

Branda, lingering in darkness, cannot relate to her former friends. Her loving mom fails in her attempts at remedy and sends Branda to tour London with a small group of people with special needs. Upon arriving in London, Branda flees from that depressing group of invalids and finds refuge with Lady Sabrina, a lonely, fifty-something drag queen foraging for relevance in the sunset of his life.

Ms. Ridley does a good job counter pointing the pains of Branda and Lady Sabrina during their separate journeys in pursuit of mended psyches. Branda's knee brace, Katherine, and the hopeless invalids are adroit symbolic choices. And the resolution is clever, far better than the one I had expected.

"Throwing Roses" delves into the psyche traumas of two strong willed individuals who would otherwise have to scrounge for a commonality. As such, it's an engaging tale.
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Format: Hardcover
Throwing Roses, tells the story of an adolescent, Branda, struggling to find herself after an auto accident. Her confusion and frustration are real, and as a reader I was immediately invested in her struggle. The author has a way with words and the writting was at times powerful. Branda's struggle with the existence of God seemed appropriate, and her unorthodox relationship was nicely written. I would have liked more background on the characters, especially Sam and Branda's mother. As a physician, I was disturbed when Branda stopped taking her seizure medication. The medical aspects were at times fuzzy, but overall Throwing Roses is a good first novel.
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By A Customer on April 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
ms ridleys first novel demonstrates a compassion toward adolescent yearning for acceptance unparallelled by other writers. Through the characters of 17 year old Branda Raggan who endures a painful recovery after a near fatal auto accident and middle age English drag queen, Sabrina, ms ridley conveys the pain and transformations all adolescents experience at some time in their lives.It is a true lesson in optimism, love, freedom courage and survival.A must read
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Ridley was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is the author of four novels: THROWING ROSES, THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF MISS TRANBY QUIRKE, RAINEY'S LAMENT, and DEAR MR. CARSON.

Liz has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a master's degree in creative writing from The University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where she studied under former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. In 1994 she received a Hawthornden Fellowship to Hawthornden Castle in Lasswade, Scotland.

Before turning to writing full-time, Liz's many unorthodox jobs included stints as a meat slicer in Milwaukee, a nanny in London, a cherry harvester in Norway and a houseparent for handicapped teens in rural Wales. Since 2001 she has owned and operated "The Writer's Midwife," a home-based freelance critiquing, editing, and publishing consultation business.

Today she lives in suburban Milwaukee, where she has two nieces, three nephews, and two cats, Claudius and Calpurnia.

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