Read Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack Online


Set against the tragic events of the Oklahoma City bombings, Breaking and Entering follows Christian/Jewish couple Louise and Richard Shapiro as they move from California to rural Michigan with their daughter Molly in an attempt to save their marriage. They find their core beliefs about life and love tested as school counselor Louise's students blame Satan for their homoseSet against the tragic events of the Oklahoma City bombings, Breaking and Entering follows Christian/Jewish couple Louise and Richard Shapiro as they move from California to rural Michigan with their daughter Molly in an attempt to save their marriage. They find their core beliefs about life and love tested as school counselor Louise's students blame Satan for their homosexuality while Richard's new buddies gather arms to defend themselves against enemies at home and abroad. Pollack's America is divided and splintered, yet she writes with hope and humor...Breaking and Entering challenges the stereotypes we hold about our fellow Americans, reminding us of the unexpected bonds that can form across the divide between so-called Red and Blue states....

Title : Breaking and Entering
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781935536123
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Breaking and Entering Reviews

  • Jane
    2019-05-17 09:26

    I actually thought that the beginning was wonderful. After reading "Five Days Left" with its flat sentences and flat characters, this book felt brilliant. The sentences were interesting, the characters were complex, the plot...liberal Marin County, California family moves to rutal Michigan after husband misses a patient being suicidal and then lights a fire in a wilderness area and starts a forest fire (small, but still). The husband, Richard, is a mess...completely depressed and sure he is going to "drop the chalice of perfection" that he's been carrying for years, ever since he heard the stories of his parents suffering through the Nazis in Germany. His wife, Louise, loved California, and her job as a counselor. Their daughter, Molly, is also misplaced because her parents, in their anguish...about the suicide and fire, about the move, are essentially unavailable to her. Here is an opening sentence: "What Louise loves about Potawatomie (the town in Michigan that is now home) are the parts that time forgot--the seedy luncheonette, the Hemingway Arms Hotel, the shop that sells prostheses, or maybe it sells socks, it's hard to be sure from the amputate leg in the display." Contrast this with this description of the home of the main character in "Five Days Left": "After the bus left, Mara stood at the kitchen counter and ran a hand over the cool granite. This was her favorite room in the house. She had always found it so seductive, with its sleek, gunmetal granite counters run through with a thin line of limestone green, its tall rich-warm cherry cabinets, its sexy slate floor, lighter gray that the granite but with a delicate vein of the same limestone green." I opened the book to random sections in the beginning of each book...and each one gave the feel of the book it was excerpted from. Many Goodreads reviewers don't like Breaking and Entering because the characters aren't likable (indeed these are troubled characters...wonderfully explored, I think) and because the rural Michigan population comes across as redneck anarchistic terrorists, a la Timothy Mc Veigh. I've read quite a bit about McVeigh, given that we share a surname and my son looked like he could have been his brother at the time he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City. People in Potawatomie believe either that McVeigh was being framed and that the govt. had blown up the building or that McVeigh was associated with the local militia who were gun toting, small-bomb-making terrorists themselves. I think both liberals and conservatives come off as close-minded in this book--with some exceptions. The main message the book carried for me is the way each of us carry some kind of heartbreak. Few of us (any?) escape that. And the book explores the ways in which we hurt each other, abandon each other, seek solace a result. It is an exceptionally interesting book...and I just gave it three rather than four stars, because it takes such risks and is so much more politically, psychologically, sexually and spiritually interesting than most of the fiction I read. It isn't a relaxing book, nor is it a "here's the life you are living...only more deeply explored." It's the kind of book that shows me how narrow my focus us. Because of that, it's pretty spectacular.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-25 10:13

    Not great. just another story of two married folks having an affair. No insight.

  • The Book Maven
    2019-04-23 07:31

    In the early months of 1995, a family struggles with their own quiet, yet riveting (to them and to us) domestic dramas. Without either of them being consciously aware of it, Richard and Louise’s marriage has hit a pretty rocky point, created—or perhaps only exacerbated by—a couple of personal and professional setbacks. To make a fresh start of it, they and their daughter decide to make a drastic life change, leaving the “left coast” of California and settling in rural Michigan, where Richard pursues his dream job of a prison psychologist. Louise is not nearly so lucky—she lands only a part-time gig at the local high school, and spends most of her days overseeing renovations on the house, feeling alienated from and looking down her nose at the local conservative Christian population, and increasingly obsessing over the Unitarian minister Ames. Meanwhile, her husband is taking the exact opposite approach, throwing himself into the local interests of hunting, camping, fishing, and criticizing the United States Government. And then the explosion at the Federal Building in Oklahoma leaves America rocking, and the reverberations are felt, all the way to the heart of the Shapiros’ increasingly fragile marriage. This quietly compelling novel—I hate to use the term “domestic fiction”—populated by compellingly flawed and not-entirely-trustworthy characters is a wonderful snapshot of life in 1990s Middle America, and the ways in which faith, family, and friendship intersect in our daily lives and in decisions both big and small.

  • Ava Butzu
    2019-05-18 07:28

    I have been a fan of Ms. Pollack's short stories, which I find to be biting, poignant, funny, and smart. I was excited for her to take on the Michigan Militia in this novel, and though "Breaking and Entering" opened up with a plausible outsider-looking-in scenario, the story fell apart in the middle and disintegrated at the end, when about 200 pages of story were crammed into 20. Overall, Characters were unlikable, underdeveloped, and unrealistic, even on the most basic human level of desire, remorse, and regret. Michiganders as a whole were painted to be racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic yokels who thrill most when hunting, intimidating others, and destroying lives. The oasis of liberal Ann Arbor is dropped into the narrative from time to time as the only place that civilization prevails, but just as Ms. Pollock drops volatile and compelling characters into the story and leaves them with one or two small and minor appearances that rather fizzle out, so is Ann Arbor never explored.I will look forward to Ms. Pollack's next book of short stories and will hope that she returns to her scale of plumbing the depths of the human experience rather than spanning the breadth of it.

  • Patty
    2019-05-01 13:36

    I found this author at the summer book fest in Ann Arbor and enjoyed her contribution to the panel discussion with other Michigan authors so I bought her book. I was pleased to find out that the story takes place in Michigan and was really interesting and well written. Although slow to begin the plot thickens and I couldn't put it down.The novel follows the experiences of Louise and Richard Shapiro, who, with their young daughter, Molly, move from ulta-liberal Marin County, California, to a quaint, rural town in the Midwest, only to discover that most of their neighbors belong to the Michigan Militia. The topic in someone else's imagination could have been distressing but Pollack stays calm and real adding some twists and romance that are very clever and keep the reader interested in finding out how it will all end. The wide variety of characters are well developed and not just cliche'. I'd like to read more by this author.

  • Natalie Serber
    2019-04-28 08:34

    Pollack is an engaging and thoughtful writer. Her novel deals with important issues, personal and political. One thing I really admire is her honesty and ability to let her characters, people she clearly feels compassion for, behave badly. And they do. The novel follows Louise and Richard from the politically correct Bay Area to their new home and new life in rural Michigan, in a very intolerant town. The narrative arc loops around themes of fidelity, arson, religion and seeking out love. What I admire and grapple with in this novel is the ending. Pollack chooses to end the novel with a ton of muscle, many things happen quickly and great movement occurs in mere pages. Things are told in summary, as if the reader is watching from another room. Things I might have preferred to see close-up, in scene. What I admire about this ending however is that it doesn't simply fade away. Overall, Pollack is deft and insightful. This novel was a pleasure to read.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-20 12:22

    "Breaking and Entering" was a let-down for me. It has a promising start and features a family of three who move to Michigan after the father experiences a minor mental breakdown. The book jacket claims this story is set against the tragic Oklahoma City bombings; however, the bombings hardly make it into the story at all. They take the backseat to the personal problems of the main characters, particularly a love affair that ends up being the bulk of the story. And a character-based story with hard-to-like characters is not an enjoyable read. Pollack is extremely heavy-handed in her portrayal the right-wing Michigan community that sets the stage for most of the book. The descriptions of conservative, gun-loving characters that fill the book are dripping with disdain and insincerity (even for a bleeding-heart liberal like myself!). They turn into caricatures with no redeeming qualities. The story did have a few poignant moments, but I wouldn't read it again.

  • Martie Nees Record
    2019-05-23 07:15

    The story takes place in rural Michigan in 1995 at the high point of the militia movement but before the Oklahoma City bombing. In real life, the bomber Timothy McVeigh attended militia meetings on a Michigan farm. I was expecting to learn much of this famous event. However, The Oklahoma City attack comes about a third of the way through Pollack’s fictional book and I never really got a good understanding of the thoughts of the right-wing extremists. It was an interesting story of isolation, family, religion and politics but not the story I was looking for when I began the book.

  • Debbie Levine
    2019-05-21 09:12

    Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack is a fictional account of a California couple Louise and Richard Shapiro who decide to move to a small town in Southern Michigan in the wake of the Oklahoma City shootings. Transplanting themselves and their young daughter proves to be devastating to their core: their selves, their marriage and shatters the family unit.The book is well written and kept my interest. I had a difficult time relating to either Louise or Richard and was not sympathetic to them, despite what they went through.

  • Chris Lindsay
    2019-04-23 13:32

    There are a lot of layers to this novel. Aside from the intrigue and suspense built into the story, there are many moments (a brief aside, simple analogy, or a subtle detail) that one could spend an hour reading into, before continuing onward with the story.This is a book to read over the course of a week or so, when you can spend an hour meticulously reading its pages. I was doing this for awhile before the actual plot gripped me to the point where I was flying through it, in order to see what happens next.

  • Diane
    2019-05-21 11:12

    This book is one of those stories that start slowly and you're not sure whether you like the characters completely or not. And then it builds from there until you can't put it down! I find myself continuing to think and wonder about some of these characters after having finished the book. I wish my library carried the other books that Eileen Pollack has written because I would sure like to read them. I definitely recommend this book!

  • Heathermarvell
    2019-05-19 08:23

    This book started with what I think was an imperfect use of third-person omniscient, which made it seem at times that attitudes I believe were supposed to be the protagonist's were actually the author's. Still, it was engrossing at times, and, even though the observations about the cultural left and right were heavy-handed and obvious, they somehow seemed better done (because more nuanced, which isn't saying much) at the end.

  • Amanda Nan Dillon
    2019-04-26 11:11

    Really enjoyed this book! I definitely thought it would be more about the Oklahoma City bombing being related to the Michigan Militia. All I'll take away from this book is the gritty, no frills lives the characters lead. The only frills were in the protagonist's dreams about her dalliance with the minister.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-03 15:33

    Geography initially drew my attention to this book... a couple starts off in California and moves to Michigan. I thought it was an interesting story, but given the amount of drama that occurs the telling of the story seemed somewhat detached. The book is well written but this was one of those stories where I didn't particularly like the main characters.

  • Sue
    2019-05-13 15:30

    A liberal California couple moves to a small town in Michigan, with their young daughter. There they confront threats both real & imagined from neighbors with, shall we say, very different view of life.

  • Connie Hess
    2019-04-22 08:15

    A couple hopes for their relationship to renew itself after moving halfway across the country.They have a precocious daughter who gets lost during their selfish pursuits.Their beliefs are challenged at every turn by their new neighbors and friends.

  • Shelly
    2019-05-14 08:19

    Relatively interesting, partially because the book is about a family moving from California to Michigan and trying to fit in and make friends. Some of the language was a bit clumsy, and the shifting narrators seemed a little awkward and not fully developed.

  • Abby Willemsen
    2019-05-02 10:25

    This book had a good storyline, but I was hoping for a little more to happen. I found it a bit slow.

  • Lori
    2019-05-19 08:38

    Disappointed. Could not like any of the characters.

  • Cranky
    2019-04-23 11:31

    Wanted to like this better; no question the author is great with words. But the characters weren't sympathetic enough for me.

  • Laura
    2019-05-13 14:28

    While the plot of this book wasn't overly exciting, it did make me think more about gun rights and gun owners in this country.

  • Fiona
    2019-04-24 09:17

    Unlikeable characters... a plot that lurched from improbable to dull... and yet strangely readable.

  • Corinne
    2019-05-20 14:29

    I had such high hopes for this book when I started it. Those hopes were dashed at about the thirty percent mark. I hated the two main characters.

  • Kathy Tweeten
    2019-05-23 09:33

    This book had my interest with several plot lines going. I'm familiar with Michigan and its fringe elements. Held my attention

  • Janice
    2019-05-12 13:32

    It's not like this story was boring because I didn't ditch it like I have with others. However, I didn't like the story or the characters much.

  • Adria
    2019-05-21 11:24

    Um, boring.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-14 09:15

    This book was so unrealistic and the whole third person present tense thing was off putting.

  • Sybil
    2019-05-11 15:15

    The range of views and dramatic plot might suffer under a lesser writer, but Pollack is more than up to the task--a beautifully written, expansive, gripping, and humane novel. Highly recommended.