Back in the 1980s, Anna Quindlen's New York Times column, "Life in the 30's," delineated — with humor and grace — what so many of her fellow, newly liberated female Boomers were going through: The complications of using your maiden name after you have children. Check. The challenges of balancing a career with parenting. Check. Grocery shopping with small children in tow, "an event I hope to see included in the Olympics in the near future." Check again.
Still Life With Bread Crumbs, Quindlen's seventh novel, offers the literary equivalent of comfort food. Like her most recent book of essays, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, it goes down easy and demonstrates that she still has her finger firmly planted on the pulse of her generation. It's an appealing fantasy about a late middle aged empty-nester's resuscitation of her flagging life by making big changes — and opening herself up to new energy, inspiration, and unlikely love. Quindlen clearly hasn't lost her common touch, her ability to combine terrific powers of empathy with a journalist's skill at sussing the Zeitgeist and highlighting just the right details. (Example: Urban woman, new to country living, asks for nearest gym and is directed to the local high school.)