Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Breakdown Lane” as Want to Read:
The Breakdown Lane
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Breakdown Lane

by
3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  2,333 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Where can a woman turn when her own life threatens to overwhelm her ability to keep her children safe? New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard takes the readers of her newest novel on a wry and moving journey of loss and healing.

Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living -- every Sunday she doles it out to clueless people she doesn't know, in a column i
...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Breakdown Lane, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Breakdown Lane

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Stephanie
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
...more
Joanieinnc
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
...more
Christa
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
...more
Nicki
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
...more
Carla
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
...more
Roos
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy
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
Melinda Elizabeth
a story from two sides of some terrible tragedies that unfortunately coexist. Julie has MS, and her marriage is falling apart. Alas, she doesn't realise either of these things until its far too late.

I struggled with the idea of Gabe writing a journal, from his mothers perspective, whilst some sort of savant, I didn't get the impression that he was able to write such verbose monologues. However the tale of his search for his father was one of the stronger chapters in the book, so I do have to sa
...more
Judith
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12548981
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
...more
Ceevee
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.
Lindy
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.
Michaela
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.
Veronica
This was entertaining enough - a little too tidy of a wrap up for some of the issues that were covered. Overall fairly good though.
Nicole
Lovely, up until the end, which was just a bit too pat. The structure of the narrative is superb, however.
Carrol
I very much enjoyed "Breakdown Lane". Jacquelyn Mitchard is a local author. I first read her columns in the local papers many years ago and then have read several of her novels. She hit the national spotlight as Oprah's first bookclub choice with her first novel, "Deep End of the Ocean". Over time, some of her books have been very good and some only so-so. I thought this one was one of her best. Her main character, Julieanne, is left with 3 children when her middle age lawyer husband decides he ...more
Julie
1) I disliked virtually all of the characters. Only the paternal mother-in-law and father-in-law were very decent. Gabe junior was also a nice lad. The other characters were hideous (in my humble opinion!) The main character was a self-indulgent creature before the disease struck. (As an aside, I know MS sufferers and I know what a dreadful condition it is.)
2) Just disliking the characters is not a reason for giving only 2 stars. However, I didn't enjoy the writing style either. I found it very
...more
Daniela
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
...more
Amy
This book was so slow at the beginning that I almost gave up. It was worth sticking with it though as once the story took off I found myself reading until 3 am!
I found Leo to be a total selfish moron. I just couldn't understand how someone could leave their wife and 3 children to go start another life. What makes it so ruthless is that he left saying he was just taking a 6 mo sabbatical (from his family) but would be accessible. Not until he left did his family find out he didn't want to be con
...more
Dana Schroeder
Julieanne seems to have it all....a loving husband whose job as a lawyer allows for them to live comfortably, three beautiful children, a part-tine job writing an advice column, a supportive best friend and great in-laws. So she is shocked when she comes to the realization that her husband, Leo has left their family to raise another on a commune with his new love, Joyous.

At the beginning of the novel, I wasn't at all impressed with the storyline. I'm not sure if this is due to Mitchard's writing
...more
Marika Gillis
"...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
...more
Becky
When I first started reading this book, I was intrigued by the characters, but their complaining seemed a bit over the top, especially since what was about to happen was only hinted at and not yet revealed. However, I thought the progression of the book made this seem acceptable toward the end.

The story is about a family whose life is affected by a father who chooses to find freedom (and in the process gets a 25 year old girl pregnant, twice), and by the onset of multiple sclerosis for the mothe
...more
Karen
This was a book my mom lent to me, I think she got it at a library book sale, so it was just a random choice. I got pretty absorbed in it, and I enjoyed the writer's style.

It's a story about Julieanne, a woman who writes an advice column for her local Wisconsin paper, but her life seems like one of the letters she answers, proving that life isn't easy no matter who you are. Her husband of twenty years decides he needs to go on a "sabbatical" from their life, leaving Julieanne and her three child
...more
CJ Bro
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lain
There are so many things to love about this book -- a wonderful, heart-wrenching story. Vivid characters. A unique setting (when's the last time you read a book set in Wisconsin??). Mitchard -- an extremely talented writer -- hit many high notes with this, her latest work.

However, she hit some real clunkers, too. The characters are so truly and vividly drawn that anything OUT of character stands out like a sore thumb. I had trouble reconciling the snobby Julie of her childhood with the supposed
...more
Stephanie (the nerdy princess)
Julieanne seems to have it all....a loving husband whose job as a lawyer allows for them to live comfortably, three beautiful children, a part-tine job writing an advice column, a supportive best friend and great in-laws. So she is shocked when she comes to the realization that her husband, Leo has left their family to raise another on a commune with his new love, Joyous.

At the beginning of the novel, I wasn't at all impressed with the storyline. I'm not sure if this is due to Mitchard's writing
...more
Rosina Lippi
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
Peggy Walker
I haven't read any Jacquelyn Mitchard books for quite a while, and now I'm not sure why. [return][return]I don't like to do blow by blow reviews, but I enjoyed this book a lot. [return][return]It basically involves a woman who writes an advice column part time. Her husband goes through a midlife crisis in which he decides he wants to get back to nature and live a communal life...a far cry from his life as a University lawyer. He eventually quits his job and takes a "sabbatical" from his family, ...more
Peggy Walker
Mar 07, 2009 Peggy Walker rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lots of people
I haven't read any Jacquelyn Mitchard books for quite a while, and now I'm not sure why.

I don't like to do blow by blow reviews, but I enjoyed this book a lot.

It basically involves a woman who writes an advice column part time. Her husband goes through a midlife crisis in which he decides he wants to get back to nature and live a communal life...a far cry from his life as a University lawyer. He eventually quits his job and takes a "sabbatical" from his family, which includes 2 teenagers and a
...more
Cyndy
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
Laura
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Lost in the Forest
  • Never Change
  • Disobedience
  • Everything She Thought She Wanted
  • The Slow Moon
  • Everything Must Go (STP - Mira)
  • Shoot the Moon
  • The Law of Similars
  • Eden Close
  • Sweet Ruin
  • Hoopi Shoopi Donna
  • Her
  • The Twins of Tribeca: A Novel
  • Leeway Cottage
  • Family History
  • Life Without Summer
  • Confinement
  • Finishing Touches
3504
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
More about Jacquelyn Mitchard...
The Deep End of the Ocean (Cappadora Family, #1) Cage of Stars A Theory of Relativity The Most Wanted Still Summer

Share This Book

“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.” 23 likes
More quotes…