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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 28, 2014
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Anna Quindlen is an extremely talented writer who can write just about anything -- news articles, novels, and a fabulous memoir which I have read twice already: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Every time I pick up one of her works, I am reminded about how she manages to capture details of everyday life that ring so true, but that most folks seem to gloss over without thought or contemplation.
There is no need to go into plot or story line as the product description is quite complete, so I will not bore you with a regurgitation of what can be easily found elsewhere. I would like to share that this book captured my attention in its opening pages and I found myself reading the entire book in a matter of a couple of days. I was on an airplane (which usually means I have a hard time focusing since I am too busy paying attention to everything else) and found myself totally blocking out the noises and activities of the other passengers. While there is some predictability to one aspect of the story, I still found myself delighted with the book and sorry to see it end.
For fans of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg's early works, and Julia Glass --- if you haven't read Anna Quindlen I would recommend you give her a try.
When on the first night she’s awakened by sounds in the attic crawlspace she needs an exterminator and meets a younger roofer Jim, almost 15 years her junior. He too has family obligations that command much of his time and life. The citizenry of the local town are colorful and adroitly written by author Anna Quindlen. They are fleshed out as actual and true characters who anyone who has ever lived in a small town will recognize.
The growing relationship between Rebecca and Jim moves along at a reasonable clip as they learn about each other. The area wildlife, a roaming dog, a new photographic series all blend into a story of two people who desperately need a second chance.
One thing that can engross me deeply is a familiar story told with literate skill. Quindlan proves the fact that while nothing new is under the sun, how it is seen makes all the difference. Just as Rebecca in the book is gifted at training the eye anew, so is Quindlan a master at seeing uncommon in the everyday. I left the book feeling just that much better about my kitchen, which is after all, still life with crumbs.
I also identified with her struggle with her parents. I took care of a mother who did not recognize me much of the time. Talk about becoming invisible!
So I liked the character and I liked the story. I like that she reinvented herself in a world and with a person who would see her in ways that made her like herself and want to be part of the world. She became relevant to herself.
The ending was rushed. There was nothing about her time away, teaching or a semester. There was very little about the courtship of the two main characters. The bulk of the story is how they arrived there. Still, I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to my friends.