Too Jewish: Book 1, The Cooper Family Saga
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“...maybe the greatest New Orleans author of the past 1/4 century." -Failed Messiah
“A powerful and emotional story of a Jewish family here in America.” -Life in Review
THEIR OWN FAMILY TRIED TO DESTROY THEIR MARRIAGE...
...but love kept them together... The Powerful Love Story of a Jewish-American Family
This is the FIRST book in the Cooper Family Saga.
"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
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
I could do was go nickel by nickel, hoping money would go faster than time. All the officers were doing was attending classes, so we had a lot of free time, and New Orleans had a lot of shop owners who could say no, and if I hadn't known better, I'd have thought they all had an advance plan on how to rebuff me at the door. "One woman offered to buy my sample for three dollars," I told Ted. It would have hurt more than helped. I still had no more money than I could save from my paycheck, and I was
me this morning." I didn't say it with any kind of personal importance, because I didn't think I was about to be more important than she was, but she softened up. Mr. Kern hired me on the spot, no questions asked. He sat with me and talked about my short life history while I filled out papers, and when I came to references, I looked up at him and said, "I guess this would be a good time to ask who exactly my references are." "Excuse me?" I put down the pen. "I'm afraid that when you phoned me,
sabotage himself as well as my mother could. Fortunately he wasn't too successful at it. My mother might walk into a shop with attitude. "Hmph," she'd say and pick up a pillbox from Bernie's line. "Not his best," she'd say. The owners were used to her. Maybe her judgment worked subtly, but probably not enough. Bernie's lack of enthusiasm was more effective. He was no Axel. He walked into shops with a here-I-am-again expression, or so I imagined. We were doing all right, but just all right. I
said. "All your friends will be jealous." She started walking into the shop. She knew I had no choice but to follow her. "Why'd I want that?" Making people jealous was stupid. "Everybody at Newman wants that." I told her that Catherine had just said that if I got her sugar cubes with weird restaurant names on the wrappers that would be a really good present. So far I'd gotten three. "Is this girl on scholarship or something?" Grammy said. As soon as we were in the door, a salesman came up to
though I didn't know how soon, so I quickly asked Alan if Letty was his girlfriend. I didn't want a girlfriend because I was in New Orleans temporarily, but I wasn't going to take someone else's girl to the movies. "How can she be my girlfriend?" Alan said. I didn't understand. "This is my first date with her. And so far the only person she's danced with is you." I looked at Ted for an explanation. I was beer dizzy. Ted's expression seemed to say that I had made a mistake. I sent him back an