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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If you’re a grandmother, a mother, or a daughter, and do not find a bit of yourself in the novel From Where I Stand by Caroline Goldberg Igra, I would be very surprised. I recognized myself in all those roles, and while I didn’t always like what I saw, I was ultimately comforted by the goodness I recognized in Lillian, Elizabeth, and Belle, the three primary narrators of this unique and touching story. Few women I know would deny that “Mothers wield strange powers. They have the unparalleled ability to destroy their children with the simplest statements.”
That’s what Lillian, the grandmother, did to her daughter Elizabeth. Lillian’s words and actions were delivered with the best intentions, but were those intentions the best for Elizabeth or Lillian? Before Lillian could do more damage, Elizabeth moved as far away as she could from Lillian. But the genes and Lillian’s influence are embedded in Elizabeth’s mothering skills. Perhaps that’s partly why her gifted teenage daughter, Belle, can’t wait to get away from Elizabeth. Talk about a vicious cycle! No wonder so many mothers and daughters have a love-hate relationship.
Caroline Goldberg Igra does a superb job of exploring this timeless and important bond. Her plot, which lands Belle living with Lillian…heaven forbid…for a short period, is engaging and brilliantly developed. Readers can’t wait to see the fireworks start. They do, but as the ashes cool, each woman has come to recognize her shortcomings and the others’ strengths. The final message is universal: with love, all things, including forgiveness, are possible. Be prepared to take your time with From Where I Stand. The delivery is primarily narration to allow readers to enter each character’s head and heart. This is an intelligent read. It invites reflection and self-analysis. Let’s hope you like what you discover about yourself!