Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna is a story about what happens to some survivors after a major pandemic has taken the world by storm. Does this story takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting? Yes. Does it completely revolve around this fact? Absolutely not. I’ve had Breakdown on my to-read list a couple of months ago when I first heard about it and thought it was extremely interesting given the plot. What Breakdown turned out to be instead was an ordinary romance novel between an emotional guy who is dealing with the lost of his baby daughter and wife and his therapist. At 363 pages, I thought nothing of it but boy was I wrong. This book was 50-80 pages too long in my opinion. Throughout the book, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that if I was to read a fiction novel such as Breakdown, I would much rather spend my time reading a similar but non-fiction novel instead based on real war events and lives of individuals that suffered through similar and tragic situations. In the end, I just can’t recommend Breakdown. It was such a disappointment in my eyes.
Let me get this out of the way right now: I consider Breakdown to be boring. It’s hard to say this for any novel such as these because other reviewers will undoubtedly view you as insensitive, a reader who only wants guns and violence in books otherwise it would be considered “boring”, and even a downright jerk in life. But its hard to put it any other way when the majority of the book deals with characters having downright meaningless conversations with each other that does nothing but further the page count. It’s hard to defend Breakdown when the majority of the time spent for characters is doing chores and nothing but chores. Nothing really fun in reading about that.
It’s clear the author wanted readers to like and root for Chris, the main protagonist in the story. He’s been through so much since the epidemic and he doesn’t even know if his other family members are alive or not. Want to know how to make readers feel the complete opposite? You do that by making him too emotional or as others would say, “emo”. A main focal point, in my eyes, was suppose to be Chris’s journey from New York to England to find out if his younger brother is still alive somewhere. However, the story doesn’t focus on the journey itself and when his therapist tries to get him to open up, he downright pushes her away many times throughout the story. We do manage to get bits and pieces here and there but the author way over-dramatized the whole situation. In my opinion, it’s absolutely okay to have the character bottle up emotionally at first. However, to advance the story and get readers more interested, they must have them open up at one point or another instead of keeping everything a secret and constantly playing the “they have no idea what I’ve been through” game. It gets irritating fast.
Breakdown, as I mentioned earlier, is 50-80 pages too long. Absolutely nothing of importance happens throughout the middle of the book when that is the part where things should get interesting. Chris only opens up a tiny bit at a time and nothing of interest revolves around them save doing chores around the house and occasionally going into town to trade for items. To say the story was predictable is an understatement. You just know what is going to happen but you still have to go along for the ride. The only good thing I can say about Breakdown is when the author picked up the pace for just a tiny bit towards the end. Finally! I definitely would have appreciated more of these pieces sprinkled throughout the book to keep me interested instead of reading about milking cows and doing chores around the house!
Since this is the author’s first novel, she deserves a break. The tone of this review was obviously negative but I hope she takes everything I’ve said into consideration. There definitely will be many readers who enjoy her style of writing so if she can mix things up a bit for her next novel, readers such as the likes of myself will enjoy it with the rest of them. I obviously got what the author tried to do with this novel and I commend her for it. Reading a novel such as Breakdown is good for the soul and makes you think about what is really important in life.