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Pictures of You

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,482 Ratings  ·  906 Reviews
Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but also must go back and deal with the devastated husband and fragile, asthmatic son the other woman left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. By turns riveting ...more
335 pages
Published 2011 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published December 29th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Heather Mize
May 07, 2011 Heather Mize rated it it was ok
This book was pretty good, but there were several things that I found distracting, and that really frustrate me in a book.
Beware of possible spoilers below:

Sequencing of events, and logistics wasn't always correct. At the end of the book Sam and Lisa meet when he's 25. They would have been too young to have been practicing on their own. There are probably a dozen or so issues like this in the book.

The book portrays April as an almost overbearing mother, she's so attentive. Other times when con
Feb 15, 2011 Lynn rated it it was ok
Two women running away from their husbands meet - fatally- on a foggy road. Only one survives. How do you forgive someone who irrevocably changes your life? How do you forgive yourself? Does the fact that you weren't even at fault in all this make it any easier, especially when there is a child involved? Some readers have compared this author's writing to Jodi Picoult's. In fact, Jodi Picoult herself wrote a blurb for this book. Since she is among my favorite authors, I went into this book with ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Pamela rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2011 Meghan rated it it was ok
This was a very readable book, and it was easy to get into and follow. Like a Jodi Picoult, it had a few unexpected twists, and it was full of characters and unique plotlines. HOWEVER-- and this is essential, in my opinion-- when you have such a character-laden story, those characters have to be believable no matter what their actions or their words are. And I just didn't believe in the way the characters inevitably ended up. I didn't believe in their final destinations, I didn't believe in thei ...more
Aug 31, 2010 Leora rated it it was amazing
As a reader who has followed Caroline Leavitt's quiet but extraordinary novels, I can say that this one stands as one of her very best. The fascinating study of relationships, held together by such tenuous threads of fate and circumstance and coincidence, is what makes this novel such a intense and riveting tale. Leavitt can make us think of something sublime, even "divine" in the cracks between the lives of everyday people with just a sweep of words. The "domestic" drama of unremarkable lives b ...more
Debbie "DJ"
May 03, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feel-good, fiction
Just a wonderful heartfelt book about an unlikely relationship. Very candid and honest, I couldn't wait to see how the characters unfolded, such a feel good book, but also a tearjerker.
May 14, 2013 Candace rated it it was ok
This review is loaded with spoilers. So if you haven't read the book yet, please do not read on.

This is one of those books that makes me feel that, even though I had heterosexual parents and a heterosexual family and grew up in a heterosexual world, I will _never_ understand heterosexuals.

The writing in the book is fine. It's the premise, the plotting, and how it all works out that I find problematic.

They say that the majority o
Larry Hoffer
Dec 27, 2011 Larry Hoffer rated it it was amazing
One foggy day, about three hours from Cape Cod, two women's cars collide on the road. Both appear to be running away from their marriages. April dies in the crash, while Isabelle survives, and is left not only to pick up the pieces of her life in the town she had wanted to escape, but becomes entangled with April's devastated husband, Charlie, and their young son, Sam, who is riddled with guilt about the accident. Charlie can't understand why April wanted to leave, and what she was doing on that ...more
Sep 05, 2010 Robby added it
This is the second time I have tried to write this review. There is so much I want to say, so many things I want to touch upon, and I don’t even know where to begin.
Pictures of You was fantastic, beautifully written, beautifully structured, unique and familiar and completely overwhelming. It wasn’t flawless, but it was pretty close to it, and Caroline Leavitt has owned her spot on my shelf.
I have been putting off reading this book. I knew it was going to knock me down, and it did, and I read thi
Girls Gone Reading
Mar 13, 2011 Girls Gone Reading rated it really liked it
Pictures of You fluctuates between several characters, and that can be a tricky thing to do. Somehow Caroline Leavitt does this beautifully. Although Isabella was by far my favorite, both Sam and Charlie were well-rounded and touching.

Leavitt also takes several genres on at once. Pictures of You is mostly a women’s literature read, but it does include some mystery and paranormal aspects as well. Women’s literature, for me, follows the major decisions that a woman has to make. The novel helps her
Jul 07, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it
It is a very foggy day as April and Isabelle, unknown to each other, leave their homes on Cape Cod. Three hours later, the fog is worse. April, standing outside her car, suddenly looms up before Isabelle. Isabelle cannot stop or turn her car in time to avoid a horrible accident which kills April. This compelling story follows Isabelle, Charlie, April’s husband, and Sam, April’s 9 year-old son, as their lives become intertwined while they deal with the aftermath of that accident. I couldn’t put i ...more
Aug 31, 2010 Victoria rated it it was amazing
I stayed up until 2:30 this morning, and it's Caroline Leavitt's fault.

I've been reading this novel in portions, like a scrumptious meal that must be made to last, but when I settled down at 11AM for a nibble, I couldn't stop. PICTURES OF YOU is a lovely novel, heartbreakingly beautiful, touching. I wanted to hold the the three main characters to stop their pain. They were people I could love, worry about, encourage them along as they sought their own path toward happiness. The way Leavitt devel
Oct 04, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Melodramatic, waaay too long and full of unlikable characters. I found pretty much every aspect of the story unbelievable, starting with the aftermath of the wreck and the way people treated Isabelle like a criminal.

The romance between two of the protagonists? Fake and kind of creepy.

The characters very inconsistent. When describing his upbringing, Charlie refers to his parents' chilly, distant relationship, but when we meet those characters 50 pages later they are the wuvy-dovey model of a hap
Ann Douglas
Jul 17, 2011 Ann Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most addictive novels I have read in a long time. I found myself staying up much too late reading the book (because I had to find out what happened next). I even kept forcing myself to stay awake (and that's saying something: I value my sleep).

This is the first novel I have read by Caroline Leavitt. I decided to read it because I was intrigued by the premise (lives colliding under tragic circumstances) and I wanted to find out about the lives of the two main characters.

Too much like a soap opera; just when you think the drama peaks, here comes another and another... okay, okay enough already! It becomes hard to believe at that point.

Once the relationship starts between Charlie and Isabelle, Leavitt fails to even explore any guilt on Isabelle's part. This was a HUGE oversight as anyone in her shoes would have those feelings; sleeping in Charlie's bed, eating dinner at their table, etc. Another misstep, an overprotective dad with a highly asthmatic young son giv
Dec 24, 2010 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caroline Leavitt captures the effects of a random moment of incredibly bad luck that could happen to any of us – along with the fall-out from it – SO well . There are too many moments to admire in this book to even begin a list. The idea that Sam would see Isabelle as an angel who might connect him to his mother is just brilliant, and so perfectly handled. And the relationship between Isabelle and Charlie ... in less talented hands, this story might have lapsed into smaltzy-ness, but this one en ...more
May 01, 2011 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pictures of You is a novel of accidents, coincidences, and mystery. The lives of Isabelle and April collide one foggy afternoon on a lonely country road. April is killed leaving a bewildered husband and son to try to understand why she was on that lonely road and where she was going. Isabelle, drowning in grief over the accident and the rest of her destroyed life, can't leave April's husband and son alone, becoming more and more involved in the mystery of April's motivations. This chance relatio ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Jul 03, 2011 Melissa Crytzer Fry rated it it was amazing
Wow! I think this may be the best word to sum up this wonderfully emotional story of individuals brought together by the darkest tragedy. Caroline Leavitt is the master of “show don’t tell,” weaving a tale of secrecy, regret, and ultimately one of acceptance for the paths life chooses FOR us. It’s a story of love and all its complexity: between child and mother, between husband and wife, between man and woman.

But it’s much, much more than that. The multiple points of view between characters ser
Jan 15, 2012 Dina rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book. It was a fast, light read. It follows the story of two women, April Nash and Isabelle Stein. They meet, quite literally, by accident. Isabelle's car collides with April as she stands in the middle of the road beside her car on a foggy day. Both women are leaving their old lives behind. April is killed, but her young son survives the crash. Isabelle finds herself drawn to Sam (April's young son) and Charlie (April's husband), and they all become close. Isabelle comes to love S ...more
Erika Robuck
Jan 07, 2011 Erika Robuck rated it really liked it
The book begins on a foggy road, south of Cape Cod. A photographer, Isabelle, is fleeing her life after finding out about her husband’s affair, but her escape is literally stopped by a car parked across the highway. Unable to see the car and the woman, April, standing in front of it until it’s too late, Isabelle hits the woman and her life is forever changed.

The tragedy ends up bringing Isabelle back to the very town she’s fleeing. As the novel unfolds she develops a relationship with April’s so
Feb 23, 2011 Angel rated it it was amazing
When I first read the title, it reminded me of one of my favorite songs by The Cure and I wondered if it would have the same effect on me like the song used to...
From page one, the writing pulled me into the scene without simply handing me all of the details right away. The author makes you think about what she's presenting to you, keeping your interest up, and then hits you with a twist - there have been a lot of surprises and uncovered secrets already - and I'm only on page 98!
It's no surpris
Jan 15, 2011 Marie rated it liked it
I have mixed thoughts about Pictures of You. I loved the beginning, despite the heart-wrenching opening scenes, and thought the story had a lot to offer. I felt at times, however, that I was reading a YA novel, instead of an adult novel. I also thought that 4th grade Sam was written as younger child, and found his 9-10 year old self to be much less mature and complex than other boys his age (at least the ones I know). I was thrilled when Isabelle made the choice that she did, and enjoyed the com ...more
Virginia Markhart
Nov 25, 2012 Virginia Markhart rated it liked it
This book started out absolutely riveting. I literally could not put it down. Then about 3/4 through the story it went downhill fast. I was expecting a happy ending. I was expecting so much more. Never panned out and I was left feeling sad. Not the way I want to feel about a book. The characters were great and very believable right up to the part where Isabelle and Charlie slept together in New York after she told him that she was not only pregnant but engaged to be married to the baby's father. ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing

There are so many things to like about Caroline Leavitt's, Pictures of You: great writing, a suspenseful plot, vivid depictions...but what stays with me is the humanity of her characters. Pictures of You, in many ways, is a sort of homage to the great Elia Kazan film, Splendor in the Grass. Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood are these lovers who belong together but circumstances push them apart. Pictures of You is an indepth exploration of longing and how people come to terms with the reality that t
May 21, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
I had this book on my Nook for awhile and was reminded of it by several Facebook literary pages. This story was unique. I showed how the choices we make really do affect the outcome of things in life. The car crash at the beginning is the catalyst that forces 2 families to connect over tragedy. I loved the mystery of April and wanted to know what brought her to the point of no return. The only part that didn't sit well with me was the scene in NYC with Isabelle and Charlie at the hotel. It was u ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Cindy rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2014 Joodith rated it did not like it
Briefly: two cars collide on a foggy highway. One woman, April, is killed but her child, 9-year old Sam survives, as does Isabelle, the other driver. Instead of leaving Cape Cod for New York as planned, Isabelle decides to stay, and in doing so becomes involved with Sam and his father,Charlie the grieving widow. Charlie quickly realises that April was leaving him, so determines to discover the reason.

I finished the book only because I am reviewing it for Amazon Vine, but I became irritated with
Susan Bright
Jun 23, 2011 Susan Bright rated it it was amazing
Last month I attended the Gaithersburg Book Festival and Caroline Leavitt was one of the guest authors. After hearing her speak, I knew that I had to read her newest book Pictures of You. Just like the characters in her book, Caroline spent time in the Cape Cod area. As a child she suffered from life threatening asthma as did Sam, the 10-year-old boy in Pictures of You. According to Caroline, as she wrote about Sam and his asthma, her own symptoms began to disappear. Carolyn also had a fear of d ...more
Sometimes tragedies happen that change and reshape a life, or several lives. The big lesson in those types of catastrophic events is to learn how to grow from them and not let them destroy you. This story is about one such event: Isabelle, who has just learned her husband, the man she's been with for 20 years, is cheating on her, and she flees. But fate is not so easy to escape that day. On the foggy road, she is in a automobile collision that kills the other driver, April, a woman also apparent ...more
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Suffolk bookclub: Pictures of you - May 2016 7 7 Jul 17, 2016 04:19PM  
  • Deep Down True
  • The Life You've Imagined
  • Miss You Most of All
  • Invisible River
  • Sea Escape
  • Mothers and Other Liars
  • You Know When the Men Are Gone
  • Here, Home, Hope
  • Long Drive Home
  • Still Water Saints
  • Spinning
  • In Leah's Wake
  • Flowers for Elvis
  • Playdate
  • Family History
  • American Boy
  • The False Friend
  • Close Your Eyes
Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times bestselling author of is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You (Algonquin Books), which. Pictures of You was on the Best Books of the Year lists from the San Francisco Chronicle, The Providence Journal, Bookmarks and Kirkus Reviews. It was also a Costco Pennie's Pick. Is This Tomorrow was long listed for the Main Readers Prize, a WNBA Reading group Choice, A San ...more
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“Which is worse, she thinks, waiting for the sting, or the sting itself?” 5 likes
“Why doesn’t he get over it already? But that was the secret, wasn’t it? You never got over what you lost. You always carried it with you, stitched to you like Peter Pan’s shadow. And you never wanted to get over it, because who wanted to forget a time that had been so important? No, the truth was, you wanted to remember it always.” 3 likes
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