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Side Effects: A New Orleans Love Story
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Side Effects: A New Orleans Love Story

by Patty Friedmann
 

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N.O. Drugstore is located at the improbable intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and South Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. Its idiosyncratic clientele draws as much from mostly poor-black Pigeontown as it does from the mostly rich-white University section. And no one knows this better than the three people who man the pharmacy on even days of the month. As

Overview

N.O. Drugstore is located at the improbable intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and South Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. Its idiosyncratic clientele draws as much from mostly poor-black Pigeontown as it does from the mostly rich-white University section. And no one knows this better than the three people who man the pharmacy on even days of the month. As different in style and temperament as their customers, Luciana Jambon, Lennon Israel, and Vendetta Greene are the protagonists of this story. Told in third person from their alternating points of view, Side Effects plays out their respective family feuds, usually somewhere between the Seasonal Specials and the Depends aisles. Corralled as they are with one another twelve hours a day, romance and splendid friendship blossom among Luciana, Lennon, and Vendetta, because it’s really only a low counter that separates them from everyone else.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Friedman's charming story (after Secondhand Smoke) of the unlikely affection among three diverse co-workers at a New Orleans pharmacy also now reads as a tribute to a unique American city that will never be the same. N.O. Drugstore employees Luciana Jambon, Lennon Israel and Vendetta Greene enjoy a friendship that binds and buoys them as they deal with pandemonium at work and overbearing families at home. Beautiful, plump pharmacy manager Luciana (aka Ciana) doesn't get the same respect from her family-her older brother and sister-in-law-that she does from her colleagues. Lennon, who is just shy of his pharmacy doctorate, is smitten with Ciana despite her age (his senior), race (white) and weight (200 pounds). Vendetta Greene, a pharmacy assistant, single mom and Ciana's best friend, is constantly barraged at home by her two freeloading sisters. When a tragedy leaves Ciana reeling, Lennon and Vendetta are there for her. Lennon's love for Ciana deepens as he supports her in her time of need and works to unravel the mystery of her mother's death. Awkwardly written but with Southern flare, Friedmann's tale depicts three idiosyncratic characters who discover that together they can face and overcome adversity. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Readers interested in a slice of the "real" New Orleans, pre-Katrina, should read Friedmann's latest homage (after Secondhand Smoke) to the inhabitants of her favorite city. There's no mention of Mardi Gras, jazz, or the French Quarter. Poised between hardscrabble Pigeontown and Tulane University, the N.O. Drugstore brings together three unlikely allies, coworkers on long shifts dispensing the drug Xanax to a regular crew of unfortunates. Luciana Jambon, an overweight white pharmacist, is infatuated with Lennon Israel, a younger black pharmacy student. Vendetta Greene, the pharmacy tech, knows that Lennon is equally enamored of his zaftig boss and is amused watching her best friends blunder toward romance. As the narrative shifts, we glimpse Ciana's pain as she deals with her racist and greedy brother and sister-in-law during their mother's last days; meanwhile, Lennon must confront longstanding rumors that he's gay. Vendetta's gritty vernacular rings authentic as she scratches to send her daughter to private school while sharing a duplex with freeloading siblings. Friedmann's New Orleans is not always pretty, but it is ultimately hopeful. For all fiction collections. [For an online LJ Talks To interview with Friedmann, see www.libraryjournal.com.-Ed.]-Christine Perkins, Burlington P.L., WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Friedmann continues to write about the curious mix of beauty and squalor that has distinguished the city. Her latest novel takes readers to the N.O. Drugstore at the corner of South Claiborne and South Carrollton, where in-your-face black Pigeontown residents and condescending white Tulane students collide. Here, pharmacist Ciana Jambon dispenses prescriptions for a wide-ranging population as the quiet drama of her life unfolds against the daily spectacle of her environment. Her two cohorts, Vendetta Greene and Lennon Israel, are also her closest friends and see her through bitter exchanges with her older brother and his grasping wife and her grief when her mother dies suddenly. To complicate matters, the death has an air of mystery around it: Ciana's sister-in-law had taken Mother Jambon to New York for a weekend visit and is less than forthcoming about all that occurred there. The story is by turns humorous and heartbreaking, and the author is adept at capturing that quirky combination of love and resentment that characterizes so many families. Friedmann's themes of sibling rivalry and unlikely friendships will linger with readers.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761417
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
02/28/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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