Little Bit Ruined
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Little Bit Ruined

by Patty Friedmann
     
 

It’s been seven years, and Eleanor Rushing is still waiting for Maxim Walters, the love of her life, to leave his wife and move into her rambling mansion on St. Charles Avenue. But when she meets Dr. Richard Kimball—tall, dark, handsome, and a plastic surgeon—her life takes on a whole new direction. Smitten, she decides to go under his knife to

Overview

It’s been seven years, and Eleanor Rushing is still waiting for Maxim Walters, the love of her life, to leave his wife and move into her rambling mansion on St. Charles Avenue. But when she meets Dr. Richard Kimball—tall, dark, handsome, and a plastic surgeon—her life takes on a whole new direction. Smitten, she decides to go under his knife to alter her looks, and her life. But the summer of 2005 has other plans in store and Hurricane Katrina interrupts Eleanor’s transformation.
As the water rises, self-absorbed Eleanor, thinking only skin deep, floats on the surface of the disaster. She and her longtime housekeeper Naomi wade through the flooded streets of New Orleans, and wind up in Houston along with Dr. Kimball, who gives Eleanor more plastic surgery. This time the result is hideous. Eleanor returns to New Orleans with a body as wrecked as the city and neither will ever be the same. 
In this tragicomic novel, Patty Friedmann deftly exposes the damaged and tenuously intact faces of New Orleans. Friedmann helps us to understand that transformation is probably the most difficult image to process—especially when change has been wrought by someone or something beyond our control.

Editorial Reviews

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 2007 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Friedmann's new novel is both amusing and bemusing. Her antiheroine, Eleanor Rushing, star of Friedmann's earlier novel of the same name, is an unreliable narrator; her woman of all work, Naomi, and childhood friend Patti Ann are always plotting to save Eleanor from herself. When Eleanor decides to get plastic surgery to repair a scar on her face, she becomes devoted to her plastic surgeon. Her devotion isn't enough to make her leave her New Orleans house during Hurricane Katrina, but her loneliness following the devastation is. She, Naomi, and other survivors head out to Houston, allowing Eleanor to pursue her married doctor; upon returning to the ruins of New Orleans, she has a final, disastrous surgery. At once funny and odd, this book reveals the eccentricity of human nature and the enduring relationships of people determined not to be ruined by tragedy. Ultimately, there's depth here that no plot summary can reveal. Recommended for medium to large libraries.
—Amy Ford

Kirkus Reviews
The heroine of Eleanor Rushing (1999) remains an unreliable, possibly delusional narrator, but Hurricane Katrina forces her to come to terms with reality and change. In her hometown of New Orleans during the summer of 2005, Eleanor whiles away the hours watching reality TV shows featuring reconstructive surgery, a preoccupation seemingly fueled by ongoing ambiguity about her parents' deaths. Eleanor contends that they died in a plane crash, but her family's housekeeper, Naomi-still an important force in her life-says it was a car crash, which also gave Eleanor a scar that she claims not to be able to see. Men too are a complicated force in Eleanor's world. She's still in love with preacher Maxim Walters, but she hasn't spoken to him in seven years; she's waiting for his wife to die. Meanwhile, after her sometime suitor Theo introduces them at a benefit, she becomes infatuated with plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Kimball. Richard agrees to fix up Eleanor's face, but she isn't satisfied and wants work on her breasts, plus liposuction on her hips and thighs. When Hurricane Katrina hits, most of Eleanor's acquaintances evacuate, but she is determined to stay, making a dangerous trek to Naomi's shotgun house in the largely black neighborhood known as Pigeontown. Diabetic neighbor Miss Leona comes to stay with them and has a medical emergency, which is enough to propel Eleanor into action. With Miss Leona's best interests theoretically in mind, she tracks down Richard in Houston, where she spends most of her time convincing him to perform more surgery on her. This time, though, she isn't happy with the results, considering herself as ruined as her beloved hometown. The line between fact and fictionin Eleanor's world is annoyingly blurred, but her oddball escapades help Friedmann poignantly portray New Orleans' desperation. Agent: Muriel Nellis/Literary & Creative Artists

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761455
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
02/28/2007
Pages:
247
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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