Jane Eyre

Still Life With Bread Crumbs

by Anna Quindlen

Overview: Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.

Gail Reid (10/15/14: I found this novel more appealing than my fellow readers. I can certainly agree that the story line and some of the characters were not original, but much of literature, in my opinion, is the reinterpretation of a few major themes.

The tone of the book was mellow and not overly sentimental, and seemed a good fit for Rebecca, an introspective photographer. If you are in the same age bracket - 60'sh -as Rebecca, you can certainly relate to many of her issues: declining career, receding bank account, transient friends, aging parents and no siblings, and most importantly, a dramatic and unwanted change in lifestyle.

This was a quick and pleasant read. If I had been on an airplane, this book would have been good company for a few hours.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton (09/21/14): Anna Quindlen is coming to the Jewish Book Festival to talk about her new book, Still Life with Breadcrumbs, so the ORT book club is reading this book. It is a good read, but, neither compelling nor surprising. Somehow, in literature and movies, the fabulously successful main character, always manages to find another wonderful lifestyle and his/her success comes back in other ways. Hmmm. Wish that was always true for all of us! While Rebecca Winter did have to always watch her bank account when her photography wasn't gaining national acclaim and collector purchases, I guess I didn't feel the huge loss of lifestyle she experienced. I feel like I've read this book before, perhaps because it's a hopeful theme many writers explore....losing an important part of your life...and finding something new that works and brings you happiness. It is a hopeful, positive book and an easy read. But, it tidies up things just a little too perfectly for real life.
Rating: ***

Debbie Weiss (09/18/14): This is the first book I have read by this author and I was anticipating a wonderful read, based on everything I had heard about both Anna Quindlen and about this book. The plot was promising. Rebecca Winters is 60-ish and had once been a much sought after, very successful photographer. Now the fame has faded as has the money in the bank. She is divorced and has one grown son. To conserve monetary resources, she rents out her Manhattan apartment and in turn, rents a small cottage a few hours away from the city.

Rebecca meets Jim soon after she moves in. A romance evolves. Rebecca reevaluates the priorities in her life and constantly analyses her relationships with her ex-husband and with her parents. She finds new images to take photos of and she adopts a wandering dog. She decides to rekindle her career by firing her old agent and hiring a new and much younger agent.

I think the author was trying to show us that we can have a great life after we retire. The story was nice, I enjoyed reading it, but it was nothing special to me --- just another easy-to-read novel.
Rating: ***

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