She S Nasty, She S Prejudiced, And She S Finally Killed Her Husband Or At Least, That S What Her Kids Believe She May Be The Most Obnoxious Woman In All Of New Orleans But By The End Of This Remarkable Novel, Readers Will Also Find Jerusha Bailey Infuriatingly Lovable A Hilarious Antiheroine Who Takes Life S Hardest Punches And Survives Larry Baker, Author Of The Flamingo Rising If you ever wondered what dysfunction looks like meet the Baileys This is the kind of story that I should loathe, but I could not get enough of this story nor of the crazy Baileys Actually, they weren t so different than many American households The Baileys bring realism on its ass and keeps on stomping it until you have no choice but to wave the flag in defeat I laughed so hard at this family I couldn t stop Jershua a k a Ru was a mean spirited, delusional, ignorant bigot She hates every race outside of her own being white Not only does she live in a smoke induced haze, she makes the worst racist appear righteous.Ru is a 67 year old woman living in New Orleans with her very sick husband, Woodrow Wilson Bailey, Sr He s dying and driving Ru insane She s ready for him to die because his screaming and wailing half the night is driving her livid and she just wants her husband gone and out of his misery Or should I say her misery When Woodrow finally passes, she s not sure if she s relieved or saddened by his death that seemed to last a lifetime other than the 50 years of unwedded bliss she suffered with him However, all was not lost since she gave Woodrow the best of both worlds a boy, Wilson and a girl, Elizabeth, better known as Zib Ru informs her ungrateful children of their father s death, and neither of them seem to be totally shook up about it, except possibly Zib who was the spoiled baby girl.Zib lives in Florida, unmarried and in a dead end job as a manager at a Winn Dixie store She s a forty something going nowhere fast and now the only person in the whole wide world who seemed to give a damn about her is now dead She dreaded going to New Orleans to be with her mother When Zib learned her brother was leaving his Chicago home to be with their mother, that made her equally as mad.Wilson is a professor and a husband with four kids Two from his first wife and two with his current wife Wilson teaches Organic Evolution and speaks like a scientist and book worm in other words a nerd of the fittest For Wilson everything has a reason There s nothing he can t explain away which drives his baby sister and mother quite insane They are left with a dilemma what to do for their father s funeral The obituary had one sentence in the paper, and it was as sad as sad can be But the Baileys weren t ashamed for they forged ahead Woodrow asked that his remains be cremated and when the UPS man delivered the heavy box to his widow, she all but freaked the hell out Ru sends her kids back to their own corners of the world and advised them that since Woodrow was in the service, she wanted him to have a proper burial in Arlington, Virginia with the flag hanging over the casket and the sound of Taps playing in the distance Wilson didn t see what the big deal was, but they agreed to meet their mother in Arlington to pay their final respects to the man who had helped give them life What happens at the ceremony had me laughing so hard, I cried Those Baileys had me dying through the whole book.After the dust settled, literally, Ru found herself back at home living next door to her daughter s best friend since childhood, Angela She detested the lifestyle Angela led because her biggest issue was the fact she was sleeping around with men, but not just any ole men, an African American in particular That nearly made Ru go bonkers alone Factor in Angela has a 10 year old son, Dustin, who has to sit outside while his mother gets her groove on and this infuriates Ru to no end.Wilson and Zib think their mother s chain smoking for so many years contributed to their father s death Of course Ru has an answer for that so there wasn t any wonder where Wilson learned to have an answer for everything What surprised me is that her children didn t become a bigot like their mother They understood the ways of the world and all the differences with people, so when they grew up and was able to get away from their parents, they took the first thing smokin no pun intended and got as far away from their poisonous mother as they could It was unfortunate the death of their father brought them together in ways they never thought possible As you go through the lives of each family member, each has a sadness to them, but are quite humorous Again, this is a story that one would think would upset anyone from the racist overtones, but I found myself quite drawn to Ru s ignorance and felt sorry for her limited view of the world What Ru later discovers near the end of the story is really quite justifiable, and even she would probably be shocked, if she were real.This was an amazing story of an ordinary family, living very ordinary lives in all the dysfunction they could muster You will be turning the pages as quickly as I had to find out what the hell those Baileys do next There is so much humor in this story, you will be laughing out loud quite a bit The story is definitely wickedly dark humor and if you re not familiar with that type of humor, you may miss all the fun.Mello June gives Secondhand Smoke five stars and counting Patty is an amazing author bringing to light a very touchy subject with such realism and humor I couldn t get enough of this family It is so damn funny I guarantee you will not be sorry to read this book With the Ru s of the world, you can t help but to laugh because they are so pathetic If you loved What s Eating Gilbert Grape, get ready cause you already know this family s got issues The Baileys make the Grapes look like normal people Enjoy I know I most certainly did. This is MY best book No shame. Really, 3.5 stars I think it s not quite a 4 star book, but I liked it. Never a dull moment in this family Humorous and funny just pops up when least expected Jerushahusband soon dies and shes alone with her dog Mealworm yes that what he was called , he was a little chihuahua dog Her neighbor Angela she didnt get along with Angela had a 10 year old son who Jerusha Ru got along with Things go worse then her house burnt down , she got robbed, sleeps in the bushes and lots of other things some really funny tho i like this woman she got spunk to her Angela dies and her son Dustin and Jerusha and her one daughter end up living together at the end I knew Ru would take Dustin in cause shes a good woman. If you aren t a fan of books poking fun at dysfunctional families, give this one a pass It took me a while to start appreciating the humor in it I didn t enjoy the part where Jerusha s husband is dying, but that s probably because some of it hit too close to home Once he d passed on or as his children, Wilson and Zeb say, once their mother had killed him I found the humor much enjoyable It is darkly witty and Jerusha is anything but politically correct Chances are, it will make your own family seem a lot normal. Powerful, Funny, SadThis tale of a truly disfunctional family, like life, is filled with humor, irony, bitterness, and people condemned to each other forever.Written with no nonsense eloquence, and peopled with characters that are achingly real, Secondhand Smoke will stay with you like the odor of burnt tobacco.Funny, poignant, and unflinchingly honest, this is a great read. I enjoyed this book quite a bit Jerusha Bailey was a very funny character and this book had several laugh out loud funny parts All in all, it made for an amusing read and I m glad it had a good, satisfying ending There are definitely some scenes that will stick with me for a long time Though brief, it s a surprisingly powerful novel Friedman has a real talent Snarky A word of warningif you are easily offended, pick another book to read Very dark humor , but laugh out loud funny, sad, touching, familiar and trashy all rolled into one I rarely give 5 stars I will look for books by this author. Jerusha is one of the most unsympathetic main characters you could ever wish not to meet After the first few pages, you re hooked, fascinated by these characters and their complex relationships.The story builds via three first person narratives Jerusha and her two adult children The humour is very dark but the story is ultimately very satisfying.
Patty Friedmann is a darkly comic New Orleans novelist whose dozen works include the perennial bestseller Too Jewish and the celebrated Secondhand Smoke Her essays, short stories, and reviews have appeared in Newsweek, Publishers Weekly, New Orleans Noir, Short Story, and Oxford American, among other places A novel titled An Organized Panic and a collection of her stories titled Where Do
- 304 pages
- Secondhand Smoke
- Patty Friedmann
- 02 September 2019 Patty Friedmann