Cover image for Miriam the medium
Miriam the medium
Shapiro, Rochelle Jewel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2004]

Physical Description:
309 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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In the tradition of Susan Isaacs comes a charming debut novel featuring a lovable phone psychic, whose talents will either save her family from financial ruin -- or ruin her family altogether.What do you do when your husband's business is failing, your daughter is ashamed of you, and your faith in your own talents hits rock bottom? Miriam is a modern-day Long Island housewife, who just happens to be a professional phone psychic. But while she can heal broken hearts, mend relationships, and help others find new careers, her own life is in shambles.It starts with the family business. Her husband, Rory, is working every spare minute to keep his business, Mirror Pharmacy, afloat, but no matter what cost-saving measures he takes, a profit seems farther and farther away. Using her gift, Miriam tries to channel to the heart of the problem, but Rory's patience with her "readings" has worn as thin as his cash flow. Then there is Miriam's teenage daughter, Cara, who cannot stand to be in the same room with her, much less listen to any psychically generated advice. Now involved with a particularly bad-news boyfriend, she's too in love to take Miriam's warnings seriously. Miriam struggles to maintain a positive outlook -- things are bad, but they can always be worse, goes her mantra. So when a persistent agent proclaims her talents remarkable and marketable, Miriam decides to take action. But will going public ruin her family's already questionable standing in their prim Long Island community? And will her trusted spirits -- her dear departed Dad and Russian grandmother, Bubbie -- remain faithful if she "sells out"? Miriam struggles to sort through her escalating troubles and trust her abilities in times of crisis, even as her visions are becoming too cloudy to interpret.In a quirky tale full of humor and heartache, Rochelle Shapiro captures the universal desire to find one's true self, no matter the opinions of others. Smart and sassy, Miriam the Medium is the debut of a talented and imaginative author -- one who is able to conjure with words and spirit.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The mother of teenage Cara, wife of hardworking pharmacist Rory, Miriam Calhoun seems utterly ordinary. Actually, she's anything but. Not only can she foresee the future (she works from home as a telephone psychic), she also sees ghosts! Unlike her embarrassed daughter, her husband accepts her gifts, but he has always drawn the line when it comes to interfering in family business, causing Miriam to doubt herself. Now, however, money is tight, and Cara, in full teen meltdown, has run away with a sexy bad boy. It's time for Miriam to be a little more proactive. Comic relief comes in the shape of Miriam's scandalized neighbors and batty phone customers as well as her own self-deprecating voice, but emotions ring surprisingly serious and true. And even the ghosts seem acceptable within the careful construct of Miriam's daily life. After all, as Miriam muses early on, the Old Testament was full of visionaries and dreamers like Joseph and Isaiah, so what's the big deal? --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

If, round about page 40, you want to tell Miriam Kaminsky to stuff it up her aura, you're in good company. Her pharmacist husband, Rory, has had it with her well-meant new-age meddling in his business. As for their daughter, Cara, she figures no teen ever had a more embarrassing mom than this phone psychic with her flowing clothes and herbal remedies. Miriam could help support her family if she expanded her psychic business, but Cara certainly doesn't want her to. Yet first-time novelist Shapiro has a gift of her own; even the skeptical reader can't help believing that Miriam is wired differently from the rest of us. She sees her dead grandmother and her husband's deceased parents, hears sounds beyond the normal range of hearing and perceives the love her daughter feels for bad boy Lance Stark as a "pink haze." Poor, sweet Miriam! Why isn't life easier? Things will work out, of course, but only after Miriam must use her gifts to save Cara from freezing in the woods after she runs off with Lance. When Cara discovers her dead grandmother's sewing machine, it seems that she, too, has a gift: all she has to do is look at a piece of fabric to know what it should become. In addition to delivering touching wisdom about mothers and daughters, Shapiro also offers a sharp portrait of fastidious, appearance-obsessed Great Neck, N.Y. Agent, Caroline Carney at Book Deals Inc. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Being psychic is tough on Miriam it's just not something that nice Jewish women who live in an expensive suburb on Long Island do. Although Miriam's part-time job as a phone psychic brings in a nice second income, it's probably not enough to save her husband's pharmacy from going under. To make matters worse, Cara, Miriam's teenaged daughter, is ashamed of her; one of her clients who seems to be a member of the Mafia becomes infatuated with her; she's thoroughly humiliated on a local television program; and she fears that her husband is having an affair with her business agent. Matters come to a head when Cara runs off with a totally unsuitable boyfriend, and it's only through using those much-maligned mind-reading skills that Miriam tracks her down before much harm can befall her. This first novel is set in Susan Isaacs territory, and goodness knows there's lots of room for another good Long Island Jewish housewife tale, but this isn't it. Unconvincing characters (except for Miriam's terrific grandmother, with whom she shares her psychic abilities), an overly busy yet often aimless plot, and uninspired writing add up to a book that's not a necessary purchase. Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.