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The Breakdown Lane
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Julianne Gillis Steiner, wife, mother, and advice columnist, is well aware of the challenges in keeping a marriage fresh. Faced with the usual domestic day-to-day events, she becomes suspicious when Leo, her husband of 20 years, seeks a "sabbatical" from their married life, leaving the family for six months and promising daily phone calls. Shortly after Leo's departure, Julianne is diagnosed with a serious illness. Although this novel could have easily become a maudlin disease-of-the-month book, Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean) handles the various themes of abandonment, illness, and family disappointment with finesse. Chapters begin with Julianne's advice column; son Gabriel, angry and bitter, writes the alternating chapters as journal entries. Learning-disabled Gabriel, the most skillfully drawn character, is the heart and soul of this story, indicating that Mitchard certainly has an empathy for teens. Despite the family's trials, this is an optimistic novel and is recommended for most popular collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-Andrea Tarr, Alta Loma, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

No one could blame Julieanne Gillis, beleaguered heroine of this no-holds-barred family drama by Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean, etc.) for not seeing the signs. At first her lawyer husband, Leo Steiner, seems to be in the throes of a midlife crisis, informing Julieanne that he is planning to take early retirement and go and live on a commune in upstate New York for six months. The next thing she knows, he's vanished, leaving her with three children and only her meager income from her advice column for the Sheboygan, Wis., local newspaper. To make matters worse, she's diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The narration alternates between plucky Julieanne and her 15-year-old son, Gabe, a handsome Holden Caulfieldesque loner with a mild learning disability. When things get desperate, Gabe and his 14-year-old sister, Caroline, scan their dad's old e-mails and learn where he might be. Then, during spring break, lying like troopers, the two juveniles take off by bus to find their father. Surely, they think, he'll come home when he learns that their mother is sick. He comes, but the baggage he brings along means further disaster. Leo's behavior is almost campishly craven, but the novel's soap-operatic bathos is perversely satisfying. Rousing melodrama; fluid, often funny, dialogue; and the convincing portrayal of children involved in the collapse of a marriage add up to another page-turner from Mitchard. Agent, Jane Gelfman. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

[Mitchard s] tale of an imploding American family will rule the beaches this summer. --Associated Press
THE BREAKDOWN LANE takes the reader on a journey of love and loss, self-discovery and synergy, a satisfying story.--Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
I dare you to read Breakdown Lane and not adore its quirky, all-too-human cast of characters. With her ear for language and artist s eye for detail, Jackie Mitchard will take you on a journey through loss, hope, and every kind of love there is. --No Source
From our petulant, prideful heroine to her sullen-yet-saintly son, each character s complexities shine... --Washington Post
Mitchard s work...is filled with vivid characters who live out loud, and in vibrant color. --Capital Times
[Mitchard] takes emotional family events and makes something fresh yet familiar about them... --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mitchard dissects feelings of loyalty, betrayal and guilt with such aplomb, the book moves along like a thriller. --Life magazine
...An intriguing study of a quintessential American family...[a] thought-provoking, introspective novel. --BookPage
"From our petulant, prideful heroine to her sullen-yet-saintly son, each character's complexities shine..."--Washington Post
"[Mitchard] takes emotional family events and makes something fresh yet familiar about them..."--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[Mitchard's] tale of an imploding American family will rule the beaches this summer."--Associated Press
"THE BREAKDOWN LANE takes the reader on a journey of love and loss, self-discovery and synergy, a satisfying story.--Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"Mitchard's work...is filled with vivid characters who live out loud, and in vibrant color."--Capital Times
"Mitchard dissects feelings of loyalty, betrayal and guilt with such aplomb, the book moves along like a thriller."--Life magazine
."..An intriguing study of a quintessential American family...[a] thought-provoking, introspective novel."--BookPage
"I dare you to read Breakdown Lane and not adore its quirky, all-too-human cast of characters. With her ear for language and artist's eye for detail, Jackie Mitchard will take you on a journey through loss, hope, and every kind of love there is."--No Source
..".An intriguing study of a quintessential American family...[a] thought-provoking, introspective novel."--BookPage

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