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Miriam the Medium
ISBN: 0743244788
By Rochelle Jewel Shapiro
Review by: Melissa Flicek

5/15/04

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s Miriam the Medium is a finely crafted novel that’s rhythm will draw you in from the very beginning and momentum will keep you until the end. Shapiro delves into the complexities of living with a husband who is married to his failing business, a daughter who is experiencing adolescent growing pains and a wife and mother who is struggling to accept her own gifts. On one level, Shapiro’s first novel could very well be about the life any woman. But, there is a twist – the central character, Miriam, is a born (and practicing) psychic.

Because the novel deals so intimately with the paranormal, it allows for a deeper examination of relationships between mothers and daughter, husbands and wives, and even strangers. Miriam’s psychic abilities break down the normal separation between life and death and the book is able to explore the connections and the interconnectedness between individuals both living and dead and the ability to bridge human gaps and communicate between the two worlds.

One would think that having the power to know what is going to happen would make life much easier for a psychic and everyone in her life. However, Miriam’s powers become a curse for her. She feels ostracized from the neighborhood and community in which she lives. She struggles with feelings of isolation and loneliness in marriage and work. Instead of breaking down barriers between individuals in her life, Miriam’s ability to help others walls her in on all sides. Both her husband and daughter refuse her physic help and she is ridiculed at the hands of neighbors and individuals at her daughter’s school.

Before I risk giving away the plot line, I’ll just say that Miriam the Medium is a book about love, letting go, struggling for self-acceptance and embracing life. Whether you believe in psychic powers or not, Shapiro weaves a magic web that will catch you in her story. It is a quick read that you can curl up with on a rainy afternoon and be transported into a world of fantasy, which is simultaneously close to the one in which you live.




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