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Shadows and Ghosts Paperback – December 14, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This is a rich and thoroughly satisfying novel, by turns hilarious, poignant, and thought-provoking. With exquisite craftsmanship and great compassion, Froman focuses her own camera lens on characters who are just like us--only more so. The portraits of relationships among women are unforgettable: we all have friends like Phyllis and Gloria, we all have mothers (and sometimes daughters) who can drive us crazy, we all have known men both sleazy and stalwart. We all cope all the time with both ghosts and shadows. But hurrah for all of it, I realized in the end. How boring we would be otherwise! My book club will love this one. I can't wait."
Catherine M. Wallace, PhD, author of For Fidelity: How Intimacy and Commitment Enrich Our Lives, and Motherhood in the Balance: Children, Career, God, and Me.


"What could be more archetypal, yet also universal than the Jewish mother-daughter relationships at the center of Barbara Froman's Shadows and Ghosts? While readers will laugh at the familiarity of this fraught relationship, they won't be able to help but feel the pain of recognizing themselves in it. Froman lures readers into her satiric tale of smothering mothers, neurotic daughters and intense sibling rivalry through famous cinematic images and Borscht Belt humor, but she moves them with her keenly observed characters and their emotional journey toward selfhood. Just as Froman blurs the boundaries between narrative and cinematic storytelling, she explores the problems her characters face dealing with the permeable boundaries between their need for emotional distance and their equally compelling need for attachment--a struggle that shapes their personal relationships, their professional lives, and their art. Touching and funny, well-paced and engaging, Froman's novel will capture your heart."
Susan Applebaum, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Theater, Loyola University Chicago, and author of In the Studio With Joyce Piven, and Mentor Mothers and Female Adolescent Protagonists.

About the Author

Barbara Froman received early training in music at the Juilliard School’s preparatory division before going on to earn degrees in Music Composition at Ithaca College and Northwestern University. She was the Director of Mundelein College's Creative Writing Program, taught Literature and Creative Writing at National-Louis University, and acted as a consultant to National's graduate program in Written Communication. She is the author of published essays and poetry, has placed in screenwriting competitions, and was nominated for a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe. She continues to compose music as well as work on a number of new writing projects.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Serving House Books (December 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098382892X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983828921
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,229,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Meyer on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
SHADOWS AND GHOSTS masterfully shifts between the present tense and distant recollection, the earthly and the ethereal, and drama and humor. I often found myself laughing along with its characters, and also moved by their struggle. As the narrative takes us through such varied settings as a rural squatters' enclave and suburban family life, its many characters are all keenly observed and their stories are equally compelling. As I read Froman's work, I found myself thinking of such disparate literary reference points as Jonathan Franzen and Kurt Vonnegut. It all adds up to a most satisfying read. Well worth your time!
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Format: Paperback
Twin daughters of different Jewish mothers, Ida Mae and Fern find their neuroses get entangled when the one with an eating disorder becomes the shrink assigned to the other, who is recovering from what looks like anorexia. Family drama ensues as Ida Mae tells her story so that she can be released from the hospital and complete a film project about local homeless people. Both are haunted by their mothers, one dead, one living, and their previous failed relationships with lovers and family members.

While mainstream chicklit is not a genre that I usually read, and I did receive a free copy for review from the author, I found it interesting both for the character stories and for the narrative approach. Ida Mae tells her story in first person past, and the stories of other characters are told in third person present. It's an odd combination that allows for an authentic character voice contrasted with straight narration, but it works. The sharp edges of romance are exposed as well, with a bit of a twist to wrap things up in a satisfying way.

Who couldn't love an ex-nun who dresses as a biker chick and teaches in a college in her former convent? Gloria was my favorite character, a bright spot of comic relief in the tender exploration of the sore spots mothers and daughters have, especially after we reach a certain age. I love to have Gloria as my best friend.

I found some insights for myself as I was reading. You probably will too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel, winner of the First Book Contest sponsored by Fairleigh Dickinson University (and Serving House Books), delves into the "shadows" and "ghosts" of many relationships (sister-to-sister, daughter-to-mother, artist-to-work, therapist-to-client) as we learn the story of Ida Mae. Don't let the folksy-sounding name fool you, Ida Mae is an articulate artist with a story to tell, one that is told through various perspectives and scenes, much like the movies to which Ida Mae alludes. Though the themes may be ages old, this is a contemporary story and it's originality makes for a great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Would you question your own sanity if a deceased relative suddenly made their presence known to you? Ida Mae Glick surely did.
Shadows and Ghosts is an intricate character-driven novel, which pulls the reader into its maze of unique characters and their relationships to one another. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and didn't let go until the very last.
In this story, Ida Mae Glick is an award winning film-maker who is passionate about her work and chooses to live among the homeless in order to gain their perspective on life for her new documentary film. Ida Mae decides it would be best to bunk with the homeless, sleeping on the barn floor and eating only enough food to survive. As a result, the group begins to trust her and one by one they share their story while Ida Mae films it.
During her time with the homeless, Ida Mae suffers a cardiac arrest and is hospitalized; she not only receives medical care, but psychiatric as well. While talking with her neurotic psychiatrist Ida Mae struggled to keep her focus on their conversation; and not her deceased mother standing in the corner throwing out snippy remarks to her.
Lisa, Ida Mae’s twin sister, is jealous of Ida Mae and tries to connive her way into getting Ida Mae committed. Lisa’s husband, however, aware of his wife’s jealous streak and mean manipulations advocates for Ida Mae as he has done many times before.
Ida also has another champion- being her closest friend, Gloria, an ex-nun-turned-biker-chick. This imposing ex-nun takes it upon herself to lock little Miss Princess Lisa in an office for a “let’s get to know each other chat” and then leaves her to her husband a quivering mess.
The story, although serious in nature, is very humorous.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will not post any spoilers here so no worries. This is a excellent story. What makes it all the better is my knowledge of the author. She is a great friend of my mother. I enjoyed reading the fruits of her hard work and cannot wait for her to submit more works for publication. You will not be disappointed by this book. Movies and books collide!
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Shifting between memory and reality, filmmaker Ida Mae Glick watches her world stagger into focus from the perspective of her hospital bed, as powerful truths emerge about her relationships with the people in her life. Framed within the context of the classic films that have shaped and inspired Ida Mae, Shadows and Ghosts is full of twists and cleverly layered with revelations about family and identity. Froman's honed prose, comic wit and scalpel-edged exploration of human nature make this novel uniquely engrossing and very, very funny. The characters (alive and dead) and their dilemmas will haunt you long after you've turned the last page.
Joan Corwin, Ph.D. Award-winning author of Safe Shall be my Going
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