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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Breaking the Bank Paperback – September 8, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McDonough third novel hurls a series of highly implausible events at its conventional urban heroine, to predictable and disappointing results. Mia Saul, a single mother in Brooklyn, struggles with a tight budget, an unreliable ex-husband and a sullen 10-year-old daughter. But when an ATM in her neighborhood begins dispensing much more cash than she's requested (with the instruction to use it well), Mia's luck appears to be changing. At first, it seems to be everything she'd wished for—her financial burden is lifted, her daughter's mood lightens and Mia even begins to fall in love—but not all of the changes brought about are for the better. Unfortunately, character development is nonexistent, the big payoff (as it were) is a letdown, and the plot is too thin to support a checking of disbelief or the book's length. (Sept.)
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Review

"Book clubs: here's your new selection! Breaking the Bank is masterful, modern and magical. The odyssey of Mia Saul, left by her husband to raise their daughter alone is filled with surprises, heartbreak and hope. Ms. McDonough's craft is in full bloom: her sure hand is evident in this cast of original characters who live in a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Breaking the Bank will enthrall readers everywhere." --Adriana Trigiani, author of Very Valentine and Lucia, Lucia

"Yona Zeldis McDonough has written a deliciously intriguing black comedy that perfectly captures the zeitgeist--with a dash of magic for good measure." --Christina Baker Kline, author of The Way Life Should Be

"Yona Zeldis McDonough's star-bright new novel, "Breaking The Bank," is not really a fable of our times--it accurately portrays our times, where the improbable is sometimes made real. By showing the way we live now, Ms. McDonough illustrates, in language and situations no one else could have created, just how strange and fascinating and true urban life is for the witty hopeful pragmatists that populate this lovely and fully realized work." --Hilton Als, Staff writer, the New Yorker

"A modern-day fairytale, with a twist. McDonough's characters' flaws only serve to underscore their humanity. I couldn't put it down!"--Megan McAndrew, author of Dreaming in French
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original ed. edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439102538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439102534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,928,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Catherine Hiller on October 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! It had me in thrall for days. There was such a nice light touch to it -- it was just a pleasure to read. I liked that it was utterly realistic except for one magic ATM machine. All the relationships, Mia/Eden, Mia/ex-husband, Mia/boyfriends, Mia/girlfriend were totally convincing, and I had to keep turning pages. Also I enjoyed the Park Slope setting. Great job!
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Format: Paperback
From the first chapter, I was hooked on this book. Using the same locale as "Prospect Park West" Yona tells a far more engrossing story. As in PPW the neighborhood institutions are recognizable, but instead of skimming along on top, peeking in at one-dimensional characters with sleazy sex lives, we are introduced to believable people facing real, though magical, problems.

A single mom struggling with financial problems, with a beloved and stubborn daughter who will not eat, suddenly begins to get more money than she asked for when she goes to her ATM. Her adventures as she tries to help her daughter, resolve the moral and legal issues of taking the money, free herself from her ex, and find new love make for fascinating reading.

I read "Breaking the Bank" in less than 24 hours because I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. And once I was finished I kept thinking about it. It raised so many interesting issues. Is the parent with more money the better parent? Is stealing from an institution stealing if there is no record of it? Should a family help a depressed family member with money troubles with money or with tough love? Does giving money to the needy expiate the shady nature of its acquisition?

Then there were the well-drawn characters of the men to ponder, the seeming sensitive selfish ex, the boring but reliable new man, the wild man who was both a devil and an angel, and the traitorous brother.

I very much enjoy reading novels set in my neighborhood. Interesting how the fairy tale rang more true than the realistic one.
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Format: Paperback
This is a feel good story, something nice happening to a nice person. Mia Saul is having a really rough time. Her rat of a husband left her for another woman, and has become a sporadic father to the their ten year old daughter, Eden. She lost the job that she loved, and is trying to support herself and her daughter working temp jobs because she can't count on her ex-husband for child support. Her daughter is having a hard time coping with the divorce, and Mia has her hands full. She is a good mom to Eden, but she is blamed for Eden's problems by Eden's teachers, her ex-husband, and even her own family. When the ATM at her bank starts spiting out free money, at least her money worries are relieved. Of course, there is a whole new set of worries to go along with the free money. Why is she getting this money, and could she go to jail for keeping it? Mia knows that she should give some of the money she is getting to people who are in need, and she begins to find ways to use some of the money to help her neighbors. It was pleasant to read about Mia, an ordinary person dealing with life as best she can, finding herself in the middle of a real life fairy tale.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A charming and believable fairy tale, Breaking the Bank is a must for book clubs as well as book lovers. A divorced woman who is on the brink of financial ruin discovers a kindly ATM machine who, like Cinderalla's good fairy, grants her her utmost wish. A dose of magic realism in Brooklyn, Breaking the Bank is fiction that's fun and also has a moral message about the joys and tribulations of money, family, and love. Ms. McDonough is a wildly imaginative and skillful writer who imparts great love and understanding to all her characters. I promise you will never look at an ATM machine the same way again. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Mia Saul is barely keeping her head above water. She lives in New York City with her daughter, Eden, and works a series of temp editorial jobs. Her husband, Lloyd, has walked out after sixteen years of marriage for a young girl he met while filming a documentary on the nail salon industry. He sends child support haphazardly when it suits him, but still considers himself able to interfere in all of Mia's decisions. Mis is constantly worried. Worried about Eden, who is having trouble at school, worried about money, worried about their apartment, just worried.

Then one night it happens. She goes to an ATM to take out one hundred dollars, and the machine gives her two hundred, while putting out a receipt for the hundred she asked for. She assumes the machine just made a mistake and it would reflect on her next statement, but the mistake doesn't show up. The next time it is five hundred, then a thousand, and finally an uncirculated ten-thousand dollar bill. Mis can't believe what is happening, but doesn't tell anyone. She starts to give money to those around her in need, trying to make their lives a little better as the money does hers.

But worse is to happen. She sells the bill to a local dealer, who then gets killed soon after. That brings the police to Mia's door, and she is even arrested and spends a night in jail. This just provides more ammunition to Lloyd, who manages to get Mia's family on his side. They all insist that she is making poor decisions that affect Eden, and Eden goes to live with her grandparents, leaving Mia miserable.

Along with these woes, there are romantic ones. Will Mia get back with Lloyd, who seems to be around more and more?
Read more ›
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