A Little Bit Ruined

Patty Friedmann, Author . Shoemaker & Hoard $25 (247p) ISBN 978-1-59376-145-5

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.)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
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