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The Big Picture Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Voice; 1st edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786889373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786889372
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,101,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oscar Wilde once said that the only real tragedy in life is getting what you want. Ben Bradford, the protagonist of Douglas Kennedy's new novel, The Big Picture, is living proof of that adage. At the start of Kennedy's novel, Ben Bradford would appear to have it all: a beautiful wife, a big suburban home, two kids and a partnership in a prestigious New York law firm. But Ben's heart lies neither with his family nor his career. Instead, he dreams of being a photographer, and when he discovers his wife is having an affair with the man next door--who happens to be a photographer--Ben snaps and commits an act that will commit him to a whole new way of life, forever.

Kennedy threads his tale of obsession, murder, and identity with themes that resonate strongly today: what compromises are worth making? What sacrifices require too much? The Big Picture is both a thriller and a cautionary tale concerning the complexities of modern life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This astonishingly assured first novel, by an American working in London as a journalist, has a breathless readability that is rare-particularly as it seems at first to cover pretty familiar territory. Ben Bradford is a Wall Street lawyer living a comfortable life in Connecticut, with a wife and two small children, but he seems to be heading, rather early, for a midlife crisis. He had always wanted to be a photographer, still putters around at it, but feels his life is ebbing away. Beth, his wife, a frustrated novelist, is increasingly estranged from him. Then Ben discovers she has taken a lover-ironically, another failed photographer-and in a confrontation with the man, Gary Summers, Ben's accumulated rage leads to a moment of murderous madness. Both Beth's infatuation with Gary and Ben's maniacal rage seem rather out of character, but with that caveat, the rest of this headlong novel grips like a vise as Ben carefully covers up his crime, disappears and takes on his victim's identity. The Big Picture has to be the most careful and imaginative exploration of such a situation ever penned, from the details of how one convincingly contrives an apparent accidental death to the minutiae of building a new life, unrecognized, in a far place. In Ben's case, it is a small town in Montana, and his born-again existence there is rich in ironies, from his eventual success as a photographer to his ultimate need to disappear yet again. The book is more than just a compelling read: it also has poignant and moving things to say about lost opportunities and wasted lives in America, the cynical quality of sudden fame, the awfulness of willed separation from deeply loved children. There is a lot of excitement in the air about Kennedy's novel, and it is thoroughly justified. 400,000 first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; film rights to Fox2000
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this book from page one all the way to the end.
Robert B. Ressler
His experience in life combined with his God given brilliance has blessed him with a intelligent common sense that all can understand.
Chuck K.
I am reading this book for the second time after 15 yrs and find myself as enthralled as the first time!
Sameer Khullar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Penelope Card on March 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Big Picture gives one the message, do not overlook the simple things of life, the example of the railway track and the stone, shows that, any action done well, and well explored, can lead to greater things and opportunities of life. Dr. Carson does go into great details of his life's experiences. By the details, I can see similarities between his and mine. In fact, by practicing those household principles his mother taught him, I have been successful in raising two boys to be responsible men. He shows that anyone can live life to its fullest. As Jesus said "He came to give the abundant life." When one lives by Godly principles,success is available to all. Dr Carson gives honor and glory to the best in his life, i.e. honor to his mother, and he gives glory to God. The Big Picture demonstrates that if one man could touch the world with his God given talents, we could all strive to empower others with the same enthusiasm. Everyone can be the victor, and not a victim regardless of one's beginnings. Ben. Carson demonstrates that though we have no choice in our birth condition,and challenges, whether a challenge is of physical, economic, educational or racial origin, we can all contribute to improving our lot in life, and the lot of others globally, by using our brain to educate ourselves, and others, such as our children. The choices we make will in some way impact the world. As consumers of health care, we as individuals have the last say as to whom we wish to provide care,we need to walk the extra mile , and be proactive in achieving compassionate action, for our families and for our community.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Connie Buchanan (cbuch2000@aol.com) on October 26, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
This book goes deep inside the heart and soul of the common person. Ben Carson proves that we can rise above our worst infirmity and become whatever we want to be through sheer tenacity and perseverance of will to be more than a mediocre human being. His mother was a lot like my mother. Our mothers taught us to think for ourselves and not to follow the crowd. They also encouraged us to be whatever we wanted to be in life. I found the book clearly illuminating, that is why I want to buy the audiocassett.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on September 24, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It doesn't take much to turn one's life from an idyllic existence to a nightmare. One wrong decision, a stupid action, something spoken out loud on impulse, can bring the wrath of fate tumbling upon you. But the question must be asked, when fate decides to throw a curve ball in your direction, do you face and suffer the consequences, or run and hide, begin a new life and hope against hope that you'll not be found out? This is the basic theme in Kennedy's renowned novel, The Big Picture.

Ben Bradford apparently has it all - a partnership in a distinguished Manhattan law firm, a beautiful house in Connecticut, a pretty wife and two small children. He has enough money to spend without any thought about budgeting. As a wannabe photographer, he has a state of the art dark room in his house, over forty thousand dollars worth of camera equipment and the time to pursue this hobby. Despite seemingly having it all, Mr. Bradford is dreadfully unhappy. The relationship with his beautiful wife is on tenterhooks at best, as they haven't slept together for over a year. He suspects she is having an affair, and his suspicions turn out to be true. The actions he takes in response to this infidelity have dire consequences. Ben's life changes forever, but where does it lead, and can he live with himself and achieve some modicum of happiness?

The Bid Picture is one of the most original thrillers to come out in years. The reading experience will have your palms in a sweat and your heart racing from the beginning. In spite of the protagonist's actions, Kennedy ensures we have great empathy for the character. We want him to get away with it, but will he get away with it and for what price?

For me this book was a pleasurable surprise, as I would have never picked it up unless it was recommended to me. If you want a completely enthralling read that is guaranteed to keep you reading into the dead of night, read The Big Picture - a class act in every way.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. oliver on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am impressed with Ben Carson. I am black and a christian. This book and others of his should be required reading for young people, espically black. He shows going somewhere in life is possible and gives helpful information. Many black people are on a high with the election of a black president but I feel Dr. Carson is a much more relevent model. I rarely see anything about him during black history month, thats is to bad. He is the kind of example I wish I could have shown my daughter and that I wish my grandchildren were awear of. I am trying to get them to read at least one of his books.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nichole Carter (elsar_moniet@yahoo.com) on July 5, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I read Dr. Carson's first two books and thought they were really good. But then I read The Big Picture and it was really great. I am a firm believer in the Bible but have a hard time seeing that BIG PICTURE. Ben Carson did a wonderful job in conveying what the Big Picture is suppose to look like for those of us who have a hard time seeing it. Reading the book is one thing - doing what is says in there is another. After reading this book, my thinking has changed and my life with it. If anybody is questioning their life in any way, this book is a must.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Regardless of the age of your children, all parents should read this book. Dr. Carson is a Christian man who believes in excellence. This book is good for teachers, ministers, laity, and anyone else who is interested in bringing out the best in children of all ages.
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More About the Author

Douglas Kennedy is the author of ten novels, including the international bestseller Leaving the World and The Moment. His work has been translated into 22 languages, and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Manhattan, he now has homes in London, Paris, and Maine, and has two children.

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