Picture of Vera Jane Cook

Vera Jane Cook

Vera Jane Cook Reviews Anna Quindlen’s Still Life With Breadcrumbs

I love when an older woman is the main character in a book, which is the case in Quindlen’s novel, Still Life With Breadcrumbs. She could have been writing about me. Of course she wasn’t but could have been. I live in New York City and go to the Catskills quite a bit though I’m not at the point of considering a permanent move upstate, like Rebecca, Quindlen’s main character. But I do love the Catskills. There is something about those funky little towns that makes me feel good, gives me a sense of freedom, maybe because I’m always there on the weekends. But aside from that, there’s something about that slow turn into Callicoon, New York, over the railroad tracks to the Main Street. The simply unbelievable restaurant finds, the farmer’s markets, the twists and turns of a country road, the social gatherings over dinner and white wine. There’s also something about the stillness and the peace that attracts me. New York City really doesn’t attract me, I just feel I have to be here. I have to work and I have to have a job and it seems like the only place for me to find a job is Manhattan, where I grew up. I grew up believing myself to be wealthy. Perhaps I really was wealthy, brought up with Nannies and prep schools on the perfectly well coiffed Upper East Side. Rebecca was wealthy too, like me. But then the money faded so she rented a house up in those mountains so she could rent out her city apartment. Money was there and then it wasn’t kind of thing. I went through that too. I still think of myself as wealthy in some obtuse sort of way but I know I’m not anymore. What a shocker that is.

Anyway, I loved this book is really what I want to say. I loved the main character, the love interest, the dog and all the people that were in her life. I loved what happened to her life and if I may repeat myself, I loved the way it was written, just in case I haven’t said that. Quindlen is a very fine writer. Her prose falls off the page like the snow that ambles off a tree limb and lands so softly on the ground. There is a compelling pull to follow the fall, like Quindlen’s prose. She is an honest writer. I’ve loved her since her days at the New York Times but this was my first book of fiction by Anna Quindlen. It won’t be my last. She has written a strong female character in this beautiful book with survival skills beyond her expectations, and mine. I do recommend you read it. It’s a feel good book with some surprises and a whole lot of heart.