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The Breakdown Lane

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  3,072 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
Giving advice is what Julianne does for a living in a column in her local Wisconsin paper. But when it comes to her personal life, Julie seems to have missed some clues. She has worked hard to keep her marriage fresh and to be a good mother, so it s a mystery when husband, Leo, decides to defect from their life together and their three children. In his absence, Julie is di ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Sound Library (first published January 1st 2005)
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I just started listening to this one for my commute. So far I am drawn in and intrigued by the main character's children more than by her or her cheating husband Leo.

Since I am listening to this book, I won't be able to critique the writing style...but I will be forced to pay attention to the details of the story.

I am at the end of disk two and honestly, I am not really that in to the book. Normally, even novels that I would have difficulty reading, I listen to with great attention and enthusias
Nov 17, 2013 Christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read, and it probably would have gotten 5 stars if the ending wasn't so out of left field.

The book is told through the journals of Julieanne and her son, Gabe, a teenager who has problems with school-learning but has a gift of writing. When we meet Julieanne, she has quite the enviable life--a posh pedigree, a handsome, high-earning husband, loving in-laws, and two great kids, plus another one on the way. But then her husband Leo, tells her he needs to go on a hiatus to "fin
Jan 08, 2009 Joanieinnc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the story was captivating. It was so realistic that you wanted to know how JulieAnne would come to terms with her illness (MS) and her husband Leo who walked out on her. You just wanted to shake Leo for being so insensitive by disrupting the family unity to embark on his idealistic and unbelievable trek into a commune lifestyle. It was pure escapism from responsibility!

The stress JulieAnne endured acerbated the MS symptoms. Not only does she have to deal with the grief of a husband le
Jul 02, 2013 Nicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly liked this. It does lose it right at the end with the appearance of Matt. Just way too convenient.
Before that, was a very good book similar to a Jodi Picoult.
I have to admit, I could kind of understand why Leo left. He had been trying to tell Julianne how unhappy he was with his lifestyle and over working, so she pulls an "oops, pregnant " on him to make him stay. I could never have too much sympathy for a woman who intentionally does that.
However, what happened to Julianne with the
Apr 07, 2009 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a person angry at any man in your life, this might not be the right time to read this book because my overriding sense was that I was so infuritated with the husband/father character I wanted to strangle him.

The Breakdown Lane, in my opinion, is a story of a 15-year old boy who has to grow up quickly to care for his quickly deterioriating family. I felt every emotion imaginable for this young man, Gabe. I wanted to reach through the pages of the story and give him a hug. His normal te
Rose (peculiaritea)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
I actually picked up this book on the recommendation of--don't laugh!--Stephen King. As one of the ten books he recommended for late summer reads in an issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine, the premise hooked me.

The book centers around a woman who not only loses her husband to a wacky desire to live a simpler and more-fulfilling life, but has to single-handedly raise two teenagers and a young daughter by herself, all while dealing with her diagnosis of MS.

THE BREAKDOWN LANE is women's fictio
Aug 12, 2009 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Jacquelyn Mitchard's other books. And "Breakdown Lane" starts out wonderfully, as Mitchard sets up the family of characters, weaving little bits of information and vital images together. It's the plot that disappoints here. It's not so much the flood of terrible and challenging things that happens to Julieanne--her illness, her feckless, faithless husband, her colorful children and the lengths they go to, to get their father to return. It's the miracle rescue that set my teeth o ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Ceevee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Mitchard's writing style and some of the character development much of the way thru the book, but as far as I am concerned it fell apart with the unrealistic arrival of her Prince Charming. I couldn't finish it. For once I would like to see women going thru tough times prevail on their own. Authors, give me material showing that women dumped and sick as well have the courage to enjoy life without the rescuing super-men. A surgeon yet.
Jun 10, 2016 Lulu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe 2 1/2? MS was an interesting problem. Add to that a dissolving marriage and there could have been a good story. But, a clueless protagonist, a tidy, unlikely ending, and some unrealistic and unresolved characters weakened this book a lot. Additionally, too much effort to make the story seem "true" when that was not necessary.
It's not that the writing was lyrical or musical but the characters were so raw and the truths in the book so real. I intitally rated it 4 stars rather than 3 but downgraded it due to a slightly over the top ending.
Feb 05, 2008 Lindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-read
A hard read from the standpoint that this mother of three is experiencing MS symptoms as her husband is leaving her for a younger woman. I learned a lot about MS, but the author gives the reader a bit of an unrealistic ending. However, overall, this was a good read.
Mar 08, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, up until the end, which was just a bit too pat. The structure of the narrative is superb, however.
This was entertaining enough - a little too tidy of a wrap up for some of the issues that were covered. Overall fairly good though.
Yu-Jie Lin
I have this book for ten years, only just read it and was expecting a hard time to read through it, because the subjects in it, but turned out an easy read, mostly were the humor from Gabe's Journal, which I enjoy the most.

Needless to say, Gabe is the character I like most, although it's hard to imagine how a teenager who has learning disability can help hold down the fort--of course, Cathy is probably a bigger help--when the mother is out in bed and the father is out of that same bed while deal
May 05, 2017 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how much this book got to me sometimes-I share some similar experiences with Julianne, having a husband you love ( and who you thought loved you) up and leave one day -and it feels like a switch has been flipped for him, all the love, support, companionship is just suddenly gone-and you are left to figure out being single parent, and you have to get a job and suddenly EVERYTHING is your responsibility-cooking, cleaning, going to work, taking care of sick kids, homework-it is o ...more
Connie Hess
Not as good as The Deep End of the Ocean by the same author.
The Breakdown Lane has a husband who needs to 'find himself" and leaves his wife and three children, one of whom is an infant. The kids think he will come back, but he doesn't. They try to find him and do, with another woman and child.
Leo's first wife is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and she relies on friends and her children for help and support.
I do not know why I keep reading Jacquelyn Mitchard's novels. Each one is worse than the last. This one was beyond ridiculous. Not only was the story absurd, but the writing was confusing with the narrator changing constantly.

I only gave it two stars because the author has lovely prose, not as creative as Anne Rivers Sidoons, but still good.
Heather Bell
May 06, 2017 Heather Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
took me awhile to actually get in to but knew, with the story line I would enjoy. good read.
Natasha ♥ Semi-Hiatus
Love this book

Quirky and moving. I love this book. The story and it's characters draw you in and your hooked. I truly enjoyed each and every page.
Jan 11, 2017 Sheila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
It kept me interested, but it was slower than I would have liked. Liked the outcome, of being accepted despite all the life baggage.
Rhonda Soukup
I gotta hand it to this author. She writes about a bunch of different topics. This is the story of a woman who gets MS, her husband leaves her, and the trials her and her kids go through to make it by.
Rosina Lippi
Jan 11, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julieanne Gillis’s life falls apart in a matter of weeks. Her husband walks out on her and their three kids (two of them adolescents, one hardly out of toddlerhood) and goes into hiding so as not to be disturbed while he reinvents himself; then it turns out the odd symptoms she’s been having — and he’s been either ignoring or ridiculing — are something after all. Julieanne is diagnosed with [[multiple sclerosis:]]. For a woman who’s greatest joy in life is dance and who takes great pride in her ...more
Carol Bro
Nov 29, 2010 Carol Bro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
On the surface Julianne and Leo Steiner have a perfect life and a happy family. Leo is an up-and-coming business lawyer for the local college and Julianne, ex-ballerina, has taken a job at a newspaper as the advice columnist. The have three beautiful children: Gabe, a 15-year-old with learning disabilites but exremely intelligent; Caroline, a 14 year-old 'good girl' who hopes to be a famous dancer someday; 2 year-old Aury, the unexpected baby. Minute cracks begin to show in the marriage as Leo b ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Another case where I am not sure if my negative feelings are about the book or how it's read.

The author reads the book. She writes about a family in Wisconsin, and she lives in Wisconsin. Her voice has an unmistakeable upper midwest accent. Every character has this accent, regardless of where they live. I had trouble at times getting past it.

Julieanne is proud of her body, her ability to dance ballet, her flexi
Jan 05, 2012 Daniela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever picked up a book and from the onset it gave you that bitter taste of the first sip of morning coffee? Well,The Breakdown Lane is one of them...until you take the second sip getting used to the flavour and just shortly thereafter the jolt of caffein is going into your blood stream and buzzes on...
It is a book about myriad tribulations in one woman's life, Julieanne, who is simultaniously left by her husband and being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as well as dealing with two teen
Apr 03, 2013 Cyndy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book started out really good. Halfway through I was ready to give it 4 stars. It's the story of a man in his late forties that abandons his wife and three kids, one of which is under two years old. Just when you think it couldn't get worse, the wife is diagnosed with MS. I couldn't put it down but then it was almost as if someone else wrote the second half. It was loaded with inconsistencies. The characters in the book were all condescending and arrogant, except for the baby! It would appear ...more
Feb 14, 2012 Bookish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, read-2012
I wasn't sure about this book when I started it. I read another Mitchard book last year, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn't overwhelmed with its greatness. And truthfully, the first few chapters of this book were hard going, because of my utter lack of connection with any of the characters. Truth be told, I actually could not stand either Leo or Julianne. Both were so utterly shallow and superficial, and Leo especially had such a superiority complex toward Julianne that it made me want to punch hi ...more
Marika Gillis
Aug 16, 2008 Marika Gillis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"...I would take out his letters to me, our honeymoon scrapbook, and stare into the faces of those smug, slim, utterly sensual young people and think, Where was the clue? ... His pinch of arrogance? His touch of impatience? I was a dozen times more arrogant and impatient any day of the week, even back then. But I never, not ever, would have slipped through my wedding band and fled." p297

Julie's husband, Leo, unexpectedly leaves her alone and reeling, trying simultaneously to care for their three
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Jacquelyn Mitchard’s first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years – second only to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (but second by a long shot, it must be said.)

The Deep End of the Ocean was chosen as the first novel in the book club made famous by the TV host Oprah Winfrey, and transformed into a feature film p
More about Jacquelyn Mitchard...

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“There's a strange sensation - you recall it from childhood - about sleeping in the afternoon. You rise into a different world from the one in which you lay down. The shadows have been rearranged. There's a sensation of sad sweetness, as if something has been overlooked. I used to feel it coming out of the movies just before dinnertime, after the matinee. How, I wondered, did Broadway actors face it, this bittersweet sense of time's slipping past.” 24 likes
“Don't ever let anyone tell you that knowing how you should be reacting to a loss has anything to do with how you react when it's your loss.” 1 likes
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