An Organized Panic
by Patty Friedmann
Old Stone Press

"Because my mother was moving in with me, for Ronald's purposes I had to be careful that any changes made were not for the better. He made that clear."

Cesca and her mother are great friends. Cesca and her brother Ronald, on the other hand, are a different story. She's impulsive and intuitive; he's religious and spiritual. Ever since Ronald's Jesus Cleanup service really took off, Cesca sees him as high and mighty, and the change has caused a rift between the two. As Cesca's life gets more and more complicated thanks to a certain doctor, a family tragedy strikes and forces her and Ronald to work together. But can they actually get close again? No, probably not, but they sure can get on each other's nerves.

Readers get a front-row seat to this entertaining family drama set against the atmospheric backdrop of New Orleans. Although the issues discussed are often serious, the tone—like Cesca's personality—is darkly humorous. Cesca's opinions on religion and her brother's affiliation with it are very clear-cut, often coming off as condescending and with Ronald portrayed as brutish and ignorant. However, as the book pits common sense against blind spirituality, it explores some important philosophical themes, such as how to make (and break) your own morals and values when you have no religion to force you down a certain moral path. Through snappy dialogue and clear writing, the author throws life events at Cesca who takes everything in stride from love to death to national television. Cesca's character is spunky, and her life becomes increasingly interesting as the siblings’ squabble reaches a level of epic proportions. Give this one a read if you enjoy voyeuristic family dramas. It's like watching a particularly dark sitcom unfold.

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