Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen


A review copy was provided by Gill Hess in return for an honest review

Rebecca winter was just like anyone else. Until once night, after another dull dinner with her husbands pretentious friends she takes out her camera. Her photograph "Still Life with Breadcrumbs" was instantly picked up on by feminist groups, insisting that this photograph depicted the struggle women face when dealing with stereotypes. Rebecca becomes an overnight success. Her photograph is depicted on mugs, posters and even appears on screen. Rebecca Winter is a household name.

But that was then...and this is now.

Rebecca is 60 years old and at across road in her life. Her sales, along with her bank balance are in a downward spiral which forces her to rent out her New York apartment and move to somewhere less desirable.

It took me a long time to finish Still Life with Breadcrumbs. I didn't warm to it at first. It seemed to be virtually plot less and totally lacking structure. Then I realised that the writing was reflecting Rebecca's life. She feels like her life no longer holds any meaning. That she has been left on the "has been / past it" pile in life.

One character I did love was Jim bates. Jim keeps it real. Rebecca's photographs depicting a set of old trophies around man made crosses gain some attention from  the critics who describe it as "a struggle between man and nature. Jim is quick to dispel their ideals. They don't know "what the fuck they're talking about". Unlike Jim, the don't know the story behind this seemingly random set of items. They know nothing of the person behind the picture, or the pictures that will never be. Throughout the novel it seemed, to me at least, that Rebecca had a lot more luck than actual talent. Jim sort of drove that point home. 

There is a romantic element to this story but I wouldn't call it a romance novel. More the slow moving literary fiction type. I didn't fall in love with it, but I didn't despise it either.  


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