Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog Tour - Taken Away

Author: Patty Friedman
Published: Tiny Satchel Press (November 2010)

In the midst of the biggest natural disaster in American history—Hurricane Katrina—15-year-old Summer "Sumbie" Elmwood's two-year-old sister disappears from the hospital after open-heart surgery and Sumbie is the prime suspect. But in the chaos of New Orleans after the storm, no one is looking for just one little girl. Sumbie must find her missing sister and enlists her two would-be boyfriends to help her, hoping against hope that it's not too late.

Taken Away takes you inside the days preceding and post Hurricane Katrina as seen through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl.  Along with her anxieties about the disaster, she also faces a devastating blow to her family unit.  Her baby sister is kidnapped from the hospital sometime during the evacuation chaos.

I liked the concept for this book.  The author did a great job of conveying the desperation that the family felt as they realize their loved one is gone. I also got a good sense of the chaos that surrounded city in the aftermath of the hurricane.  But, I just didn't like any of the characters.  I really did not like the parents or the decisions that they made. I had a hard time believing that any mother would allow herself to be denied access to her child in the ICU.  That just doesn't happen.  Then, they don't seem to be very proactive in trying to search for their missing child.  The way they treat Sumbie was just atrocious. Imagine actually accusing your daughter of killing her baby sister.  That didn't wash with me. I also wasn't left with the sense that anything had changed within the dynamic of the family in the end. So, as I said, I loved the concept, but not the characters.


About the Author:  

 PATTY FRIEDMANN is the author of the novels Taken Away, Too Jewish, A Little Bit Ruined, Side Effects, Secondhand Smoke, Eleanor Rushing, and Odds, all currently in print, and of The Exact Image of Mother (Viking 1991) and Too Smart to Be Rich (New Chapter 1988). Her novels have been Discover Great New Writers, Original Voices, and BookSense 76 selections. In 2011 Taken Away was a finalist for Book of the Year for small presses. In 2001–2002, she was writer-in-residence at Tulane University. Patty has reviewed for Publishers Weekly, Brightleaf, Short Story, and the Times-Picayune; her short stories have appeared in Horn Gallery, Short Story, LaLit, Xavier Review, Life in the Wake, New Orleans Noir, and elsewhere; and she has had essays in Oxford American, Speakeasy, and New Orleans Review. Stage productions under the direction of Carl Walker are The Accidental Jew and Lovely Rita. She was included in The Great American Writers Cookbook and Christmas Stories from Louisiana in 2003, as well as in the collections My New Orleans in 2005 and Intersections in 2006. She was the subject of the feature interview in the 2009 issue of Riverbend Review. Patty is technically married until she gets Medicare. She is the mother of Esme Roberson and Werner Friedmann II and the crazed grandmother of Summer Roberson, Kennedy Friedmann, and Carmine Friedmann. She lives in New Orleans.

No comments: