The Breakdown Lane
By Rosie Bindra
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:38:00 AM

Julieanne Gillis helps people with their problems on a daily basis giving out bits of advice and wisdom through her column, ‘Excess Baggage’, in a local newspaper.  Yet, when things go wrong in her own life, she fails to notice the signs.  So when husband Leo informs her that he’s going on a sabbatical and won’t be back for six months, she’s shocked.  Shock quickly turns to fear when she realizes she’s left with two teenagers and a toddler to raise, plus she discovered that she’s suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

With MS slowly crippling her, some days she finds she can’t even work and her son Gabe, despite his learning disability, writes them for her; impressing her editor with this new form of writing.  But with things getting worse and no sign of Leo, Julie’s two teenage kids, Gabe and Caroline, set out to find their father and bring him back home.  They do manage to find Leo and bring him back, but his reasons for leaving them in the first place may end up fracturing their family for good.



Having never read a book by Jacquelyn Mitchard, I was a bit apprehensive at first.  It just didn’t seem like the kind of book I would normally read.  All I knew of Mitchard before starting this book was that the movie, “The Deep End of the Ocean” was based on her book.  Having seen the movie a few years ago and liking it, I was ready to tackle this author’s newest offering.  All I can say after having read THE BREAKDOWN LANE is wow.  I loved this book.  For a book that deals with such a serious issue like MS, it has some very funny moment’s in-between the heartbreaking ones.  The story is split into two view points, Julie’s and her son Gabe’s, told through his journal entries.  The characters come across as very real and you find yourself identifying with them.  The advice column entries at the beginning of every chapter are a treat and the book as a whole is a learning experience, especially for those of us who know nothing about MS.  A must read for everyone.

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