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388 of 405 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this one down, even after I'd finished it.
At 60 and divorced, Rebecca Winter, the well known photographer and lifelong New Yorker, is still a famous name, but her works are no longer bringing in the money they once did. Money she needs now to provide elder care for her parents. So she sublet her New York apartment and has just moved into a "fully furnished" cottage that's turned out to be nowhere near the gem...
Published 8 months ago by Sharon Isch

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194 of 216 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scattered crumbs
I had never read an Anna Quindlen novel prior to 'Still Life with Bread Crumbs'. But the premise and the mostly glowing reviews, convinced me to give Ms. Quindlen's novel a try. I'm always excited when I discover a new author I like. However, now I'm not at all sure I will try any of her other novels.

I found some of the descriptive passages in this book to...
Published 7 months ago by Beverly Turner


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Book Full of Stereotypes and Cliches, March 30, 2014
This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Rebecca Winter, 60 years old, divorced, once a well known photographer has exchanged her tony Upper West Side apartment for a drab cottage in the boondocks of Upstate New York for financial reasons. Her feminist photos no longer bring in the money they once did so she has had to sublet the luxe apartment for the shack in order to pay the bills. There she will make 'friends' with the locals, acquire a dog and take more photographs. If this sounds like you have read it before, you have, as it hits every elite Manhattan cliche in the book. Her former husband is a domineering, know it all jerk. She has an emotionally cold mother who is a self-hating Jew and is suffering from dementia whose nursing home fees she must pay. Her agent is abusive and no longer sees value in her work. And she finally comes to the realization that what she sees through the lens of her cameria isn't necessarily real life. What a revelation!

Along the way there is the obligatory romance because lonely 60 year olds never wind up being really lonely in this type of book. And we are asked to commiserate with the financial fears of this woman who paid $6000 for a stove, when the sale of her apartment would solve all her money troubles. Ms. Quindlen appears to be completely out of touch as everything in this book is a cliche right down to the ending.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay, February 5, 2014
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I liked some parts of this book but in general would give it a 5 out of 10. I didn't like the foreshadowing where you get a glimpse of what's to come with inserts like "but that would come later...." and I feel the end was rushed and tied together too neatly with a happy ending for all.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars These bread crumbs were too stale for me., February 3, 2014
This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
Still Life with Bread Crumbs has been called the literary equivalent of comfort food, but it just made me feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to like this, since it is authored by Anna Quindlen and the premise sounded somewhat interesting; after the story devolved into a vaguely creepy May-December romance lacking Quindlen's usual gifted writing I was sadly disappointed. I had hoped for a book with more than a predictable plot, one-dimensional characters, and rambling writing, but when I came to the list of words that Rebecca's dog could understand and read the phrase "But that was later" for what seemed like the fiftieth time, I knew I wasn't going to find the depth and exceptional writing I was looking for in Still Life with Bread Crumbs. I've read and really enjoyed several of Quindlen's previous novels and essays, but I'm afraid I may pass on her future books.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quindlen with a Jewish Herone: A Review, January 18, 2014
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Word Lover (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Rebecca Winters, the heroine of Anna Quindlen's Still Life with Bread Crumbs, could be the subject of an AARP profile. At 60, Rebecca finds herself at the nexus of escalating expenses and diminishing income. She once enjoyed wide fame and the money it brought. Her photographs hung in galleries and museums, and were reproduced on posters and mugs. But they no longer selling well and her agent is rude and disinterested. Rebecca's parents need her financial assistance: her father is shaky and her mother is worse, suffering from Alzheimer's in an expensive Jewish nursing home. (No Irish Catholics in this Quindlen novel. Not a one!) Her loving son Ben, a struggling filmmaker slouching toward adulthood, needs money infusions from Mom, too, and Dad, Rebecca's former husband, a nasty British professor/serial adulterer, has younger children to support. Rebecca decides that the solution to her problems is to rent out her posh Manhattan apartment and flee to a rickety cottage in Nowhere, New York. (That a woman as sophisticated and visually-oriented as Rebecca would rent a place only two hours away without checking it out first is implausible, but let's not quibble over this point, nor will I get into the book's many parenthetical references.)

The novel is closely observed with sharp reflections that readers have learned to expect from Anna Quindlen. Rebecca's mind is an interesting place to be, as is the author's. "Ironically, great success made Rebecca less and less sure of herself, until everything she produced, even the successful things she produced, seemed like something she'd done before." The book's first half is largely interior. It offers minimal dialogue. This underscores the character's emotional and physical isolation. As a surprising romance peels away Rebecca's cool remove, however, the plot picks up, minor characters emerge more fully, and action exceeds commentary.

The book's start is savory; the end, funny and almost fairy-tale-ish, though almost too sweet and pat. If like her character, great success has made Anna Quindlen less sure of herself, it's an interesting thought to consider, but overall, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is an elegant slip of a new novel.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow characters and trite story--spoiler alert, February 18, 2014
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I find all the praise for this book mystifying. I've read other Anna Quindlen books, and while she is not my favorite author, I liked her writing. I found, even as an almost 60 year old woman myself, that I could not identify with, or even find interesting, her 60 year old main character ( a rather "hip" Manhattanite). The story is not only trite--rich city woman finds redemption in the country and in the arms of a younger man--the last third of the book is almost an outline of a story. Quindlen switches to brief chapters that are little more than a string of anecdotes that wrap up the story lines. What begins as a novel ends as a series of "pat" sketches. Some characters die very conveniently, others make spectacular and sudden changes in their lives. And, how does a bored author create a solution for a cashed-strapped heroine? Why, deceased daddy's old furniture happens to be valuable beyond belief! I felt cheated as a reader.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reputation of Author, February 21, 2014
This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
Sometimes we check out books/purchase them because of the "reputation of the author". I guess this was the case for the book "Still Life with Bread Crumbs" For a book that goes on and on about finding an electrical outlet for her alarm clock, the trapping of a raccoon I the attic, and on and one, I found that Quindlen was just trying to fill the pages of the book. Why do authors have to ramble on and on and everyone has such high praise. Is it reputation, or are we becoming a less education society. Let's give high praise to books with "good bones".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting..but Tedious, March 15, 2014
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At times I really was enjoying this story. I thought it was going to be hard to relate to an older woman but the way it was written you quickly forget her age. Thats the problem. Its hard to believe a woman of sixty who is accomplished and successful would be caught doing the things she is doing in this book. I wanted more lead in to her predicament. Instead you get ramblings of a semi borderline depressed single mom and daughter who is toying with the idea of relaunching her career with pictures she is taking in the woods in upstate NY. While a younger character would probably take this on without a second thought, a woman of her age would probably proceed with more caution and put more planning into being alone in the woods for such a long duration by herself. At times I felt like saying "are you serious!!" Im a thirty something woman and I wouldn't not come prepared with a flashlight, candles and food.
The romance, which could have been a wonderful main plot, fell flat to the side of her constant run on thoughts about her life without finances and retired dying parents. I found myself skimming this until the conclusion.What could have been a great story turned out lacking something in the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe these bread crumbs needed a little seasoning, February 4, 2014
Rebecca Winter picked up a camera one day and became a star among the art community. She had no idea that dirty dishes and a burnt dishtowel would strike such a nerve. It is now many years and a lifetime ago that she took that one iconic photo that started it all and she feels she is slowly being forgotten. There is always the new fad or the new photographer. Her bank account feels the pain and she finds she must make some changes in her lifestyle in order to survive. Rebecca rents out her New York apartment and heads to upstate New York where she rents a small cottage. By taking this step she will be able to keep her apartment in the long run, pay her Father's rent and her Mother's fee at the Jewish home. While off in the country Rebecca meets many new characters, people she probably would have never interacted with had she stayed in the city, has many new adventures and learns a lot about herself, her past, her craft and her heart.

I liked this book, but I can't say I loved this book. It was easy to read, but had no pizazz. It was almost like I was reading about my neighbor, so it was comfortable but not exciting or different. I enjoyed the story and the characters and I felt invested in Rebecca and Jim but no one else. If you are looking for a book to just pass time and not get your blood pressure up, this will do just fine.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Quindlen, January 14, 2014
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This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
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This is a book with a point, and that point is that even in one’s sixties, there is hope of rebirth. The protagonist in this novel is a once-famous photographer whose popularity has dwindled as she has aged. At one time, the art world clamored to own a photo by Rebecca Winters; but not so much any longer. Her income has declined in sync with her popularity, and she has rented a little cabin in the woods near a small town and is trying to reinvent her art and herself. In the course of her rebirth, there is romance, there is friendship, and there is a dog. What more could one want in a novel on a snowbound winter’s day?

Rebecca discoversa new direction for her photographs and a new course for her life. It is quintessential Quindlen – a nice story with some stunning language in the most unexpected places, and, of course, a story with a point. Reading the great writers of our time, and I consider Anna Quindlen among them, is a humbling experience that gives one a deep respect for the craft of the writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Anna's Best, April 21, 2014
This review is from: Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel (Hardcover)
I am a great fan of Anna Quindlen's writing but I agree with another reviewer who called this book a Harlequin Romance for "women of a certain age". The happy ending was just too contrived and I kept thinking that the book was overly concerned with "First World Problems". This was a movie-of-the week treatment from a writer who is capable of so much more.
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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel
Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel by Anna Quindlen (Hardcover - January 28, 2014)
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