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Too Jewish [Kindle Edition]

Patty Friedmann
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (333 customer reviews)

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Book Description


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


...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

Honors and Blurbs for Other Books:

Eleanor Rushing—Discover Great New Writers
Eleanor Rushing—Original Voices
Secondhand Smoke—BookSense 76
Eleanor Rushing—“Intriguing and touching…One finishes [Eleanor Rushing] impressed by Friedmann’s compassion for human frailty." -Publishers Weekly
Secondhand Smoke—“A Confederacy of Dunces meets The Corrections … Both funny and sad, this novel deserves the wild popularity it is sure to achieve.” -Library Journal
Secondhand Smoke—list of 30 Most Underrated Southern Books in Oxford American, along with Gone with the Wind, A Lesson Before Dying, Deliverance:
Taken Away—Small Press Book of the Year Award (ForeWord) Finalist

Product Details

  • File Size: 1973 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: (December 13, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FGMT4U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survivor's Guilt February 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Patty Friedman's book, Too Jewish, is a touching and emotional look at the story of a family forever changed by the Holocaust. Young Bernie Cooper (Bernard Kuper), a well educated German Jew, escapes Europe at the last possible moment. Despite desperate attempts to persuade his widowed mother to leave Germany for the U.S., she stays behind and is soon lost to the atrocities of World War II.

Bernie reaches the U.S., meets Lettie a nice Jewish girl from New Orleans, and the two fall in love and marry. But when Bernie marries Lettie,, he commits not only to Lettie, but to her family. Lettie is fifth generation New Orleans, and the only child of a wealthy and well-established Jewish family. For this family, assimilation has long been established by the shedding of ethnic specificity--and Bernie is definitely TOO Jewish. What happens when Bernard Kuper is forced into a new life as Bernie Cooper?
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102 of 108 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Jewish - an autobiography of a man "Too Jewish" June 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
There are several parts to Too Jewish. First you have Bernie, a young man, a Jew, who escapes the clutches of Hitler and Nazi Germany just before his homeland is invaded. He has tried to talk his 70 year old mother, who believes it is just another war, into coming with him and fails. Leaving her behind, he comes to America, meets a girl, falls in love with the girl, joins the American military and fights for the freedom of Germany and Jews. When he returns he meets the girl's parents, who are stuck up and ashamed of being Jews themselves.

As the years go by, Bernie and Letty marry, have a daughter and constantly have to battle her parents (especially her mother's) underhanded and cruel tricks and scorn. Letty's parents have turned their back on their heritage & raised their daughter to do the same - but she is a fighter, loves her man and stands up for her husband and his faith and tries to do the right thing.

I really enjoyed Too Jewish. It's an easy read, very well written and a first hand account of a terrible period of human history. As I read Too Jewish, I was saddened by not only the loss of Bernie's mother and homeland & the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of God's People destroyed by the selfish hatred of one man and those he deceived into following him. There is true horror on Bernie's part of what happens to his mother and a deep sense of shock and betrayal of the American Jews who have turned their back on their heritage and the faith of their ancestor's. He is known as being "Too Jewish" in the synagogue and the Jewish community he has chosen - why? Because he knows the Hebrew prayers, wears his Kippot during worship and keeps the Sabbath.

I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys autobiographies or period type books.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read story of the American Jewish Experience February 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Set primarily in post-war New Orleans, this novel presents the classic conflict faced by Jewish immigrants: assimilation versus preservation of culture, customs, and faith. Patty Friedmann's novel takes us on a journey that poignantly shows how Bernie's struggle shaped the lives of those he loved best. Along the way we enter Lettie's world complete with the excitement of new love, the pressures of "keeping up with the Goldbergs," and the drama that ensues when a daughter's independence clashes with her mother's love and longings. Read this with a box of tissues . . . or a bag of Zapp's, but read it. Whether you know from New Orleans or not, this novel will stay with you because these characters will enter your heart.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving mix of fiction and memoir January 31, 2012
By Alina
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a novel heavily influenced by the author's history of her family. She tells the story of her father, a German Jew who escaped Nazi Germany leaving his mother behind, who suffered survivor guilt all his life. He married an assimilated JAP in New Orleans and experienced rejection by his in-laws all his life for being "too Jewish". Apparently it's a fact that when his mother-in-law died she left the daughter's portion of the estate in trust so that she could only claim it after her "too Jewish" husband died. If anybody ever deserved to be buried in the basement it's this mother-in-law, I've rarely experienced such viceral revulsion reading about a character and I'm sorry that her daughter and son-in-law didn't leave New Orleans and have a completely different life away from the toxic influence of this evil woman. Yeah, she reminds me of my mother. Why do you ask?

The author's father did not end up as badly as the father character in the novel but it is clear that most of the recounting of the history of this man is based on fact. Significantly, the author's grandparent's and mother are now dead so she has been able to write what she pleases about them. As she recounts in an interview (search youtube for the author's name), she was born to write this book.

I'm not Jewish but this book had such moving and affecting passages that at times I had to put the book aside to digest what I'd read and compose myself to read more. A very powerful account of the cruelty of which human beings are capable, whether they use the macro weapons of the Nazis or the micro weapons of social rejection at a tea party.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful Memoir, Stunning Writing March 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure which is more striking about Patty Friednmann's "Too Jewish"-- the fact that it was more or less biographical, or the fact that she writes so distinctly, or the fact that she conveys her father's emotions so well, it makes "Too Jewish" almost too painful to read. But read you must, because this book opens the door that hides some of the more insidious aspects of surviving the Holocaust.

In the first chapter, Bernie foresees the coming problems for Jews in Germany. He leaves, but his mother refuses too. He goes to New York, but enlists in the service, and is sent to New Orleans. Here, he meets Lettie, the love of his life, and one of the few Jewish families living in the South at the time. So what's the problem? Lettie's family members are Jew-hating Jews. To use Bernie's words, "I will always be a German Jew. Not a Jew in Germany, which is punishable by death. Rather, I am a Jew with an accent and a tenth-grade education in the South, which is punishable by contempt."

Not since Mary Glickman's "Home in the Morning" have I read such an insightful interpretation of the pre-1965 Jewish experience in the south.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cooper Saga
I liked the structure and the plot. I recommend this book for readers who like historical fiction, mystery stories,or books that broaden the mind. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Sister M. Thomas More
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Jewish
The life of a Jewish family as told through 3 different viewpoints, the father, the mother and the daughter, which was interesting. I liked the daughter's viewpoint best.
Published 21 hours ago by wolfnerfoxes
5.0 out of 5 stars We love you Bernie!
How cruel some people can be, including so-called family. Thank you Patty for sharing, I watched your interview and I shared your feelings about your Dad. Read more
Published 1 day ago by C W Woods
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge this book by its title!
This book was very different than any I've read before. I like to try new topics every now and then but my main reading interests are mysteries, political and and foreign intrigue... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Ed
1.0 out of 5 stars This gave me a migraine. I am Jewish and ...
This gave me a migraine. I am Jewish and much of this book mixed realities and became one stereotype after another. Read more
Published 1 day ago by L. J. Gagnon
2.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Time was the worst Jodi Picoult book 'veI ever read
Leaving Time was the worst Jodi Picoult book 'veI ever read! More like a scientific treatise about elephants and bizarre stuff about the occult! Yuk! Read more
Published 2 days ago by Harriet
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. After I read it I reviewed Patty Friedman's biography and was surprised to learn so much of it was about her father. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Edward Arnold
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Surprising
Whatever I thought this book was about, it wasn't. It's very well written, with some astounding plot twists that, once they become evident, seem perfectly normal and even expected. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Karen Utley
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the read.
Not very well-written story from the perspective of the three main characters. The story didn't flow very well and there are plenty of other books out there about holocaust... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Beth
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully honest and beautifully told.
I don't normally review books I have read but this book demands a response. To read "Too Jewish" is a painful and deeply touching experience in living a reality that so... Read more
Published 2 days ago by H. Paul Mazer
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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.

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