Ida Mae Glick, a critically acclaimed filmmaker, has lived and taught in the small town of Willow Bend, New York for five years without drawing attention to her troubled past. But when she suffers a near fatal heart attack, the result of trying to live on the same meager rations as a group of homeless people she is filming, she winds up in intensive care under the scrutiny of a neurotic psychiatrist who believes she’s unstable. To make matters worse, her mother’s ghost has appeared at her bedside with old gripes, and her angry, estranged identical twin, Lisa, is heading toward town intent on having her committed. Ida Mae is desperate to escape with her freedom intact, but knows she’ll have to get past her psychiatrist first. The only question is, can she? Shadows and Ghosts is Ida Mae’s tale of artistic passion, fierce sibling rivalry, failed love affairs, substance abuse, and the magical redemptive power of cinema.
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.
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<‘i> 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 Mentor Mothers and Female Adolescent Protagonists
Shadows and Ghosts is a satirical, yet realistic treatment of boundaries (and the lack thereof), where the lines of fantasy and reality, conscious and subconscious, doctor and patient, mother and daughter are stunningly blurred.
—Diane Karlins, L.C.S.W. specializing in Adolescent and Adult psychotherapy
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. 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
Shadows and Ghosts is an intricate character-driven novel, that pulls the reader into its maze of unique characters and their relationships to one another. This book keeps the reader’s interest until the very end. […]I found the storyline unique and the book magnificently well-written. I absolutely loved the dialogue between the two Jewish mothers, Edna and Judith and their daughters, Ida Mae and Fern. I found the characters to be so fully developed by the author, that by the end of the book I felt like I not only knew them, but had a relationship with them. I was sad to have to say good-bye. I highly recommend giving this book a read. You won’t be disappointed.
—eBook Review Gal
While most generally think chick lit is synonymous with women’s fiction, it is refreshing to read a perfect example of non-chick lit women’s fiction. Barbara Froman created characters that are relatable and real. […]The power of these women on their daughters is the most realistic depiction of generational guilt I have ever read. […]This novel is a wonderful example of a women’s fiction piece that digs a little deeper than other novels within its genre.
— Ivory Owl Reviews