Shinn column: White Feathers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pamela Jouan-Goldman is a delightful woman who lives in New York City with her husband and their young son.
She’s the daughter-in-law of Charles and Norma Goldman of Salisbury.
Pamela has written a slim novella, “White Feathers,” that details the relationship between her mother and father.
In this fictionalized account, Ruby gets to spend just one more day with “her Charles,” who died of cancer.
In real life, Pamela lost her dad to cancer, too.
The book is a testament to the power of love, and would be a wonderful gift to anyone who’s lost someone special.
Originally, Pamela wrote the manuscript for her mother.
“I always loved to write,” says Pamela, 40, an English lit major who’s spent a good deal of her career in the music business.
“My father’s death was very hard on my mother,” she says. “She kept saying, ‘If I only had a little more time.’ She was always with him. As a caregiver, you blame yourself and she did. I wrote this story for her.”
Pamela has had an agent for years, but decided to self-publish to streamline the process. All proceeds from the book will go toward cancer research.
The cover of the book shows a photograph of her parents, Cynthia and Marcel, dancing on their honeymoon.
The book, Pamela says, is pretty true to the details of her parents’ lives.
Pamela’s mother was born and raised in India and later moved to England, while her father grew up in France.
“Both struggled in childhood,” she says, “but they were very rooted in religion. It really helped them through their lives.”
A year before her father’s diagnosis, he had a dream that a woman in white visited him, and told him he had cancer.
“Be prepared,” she told him. “This is your cross to bear.”
Shortly after that, her father began to find white feathers everywhere and joked that the angels must be coming for him.
“It was really uncanny and a little unsettling,” Pamela says.
Writing the book, she says, was an interesting way to relive her parents’ journey.
“All of it was a testament to his faith,” she says, “and his relationship with my mother.”
Marketing and promoting the book is taking up a lot of Pamela’s time and energy.
“It has a very special appeal to people who have gone through that process,” Pamela says. “In a way, it’s a niche book, but it addresses the universal themes of loss, faith and hope.”
“The amazing thing,” Norma says, “is that her mom never told her the thoughts she had. She portrayed them so well.”
“I tried to keep it general and yet specific,” Pamela says. “It was a really good experience for me to write.”
“White Feathers” is available on amazon.com and her own Web site, www.pamelajouan.com.
Locally, it’s available at Literary Book Post.

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