The Breakdown

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Cass, a high school teacher, had a normal life. She was blessed with a handsome husband Matthew, a best friend Rachel, and a wonderful career. On her way home one night from a friend’s party, she hit a terrible storm. This is when the nightmare begins! In a rash decision, her life spirals into guilt, worry, forgetfulness, and anguish. The secret that she was holding onto was affecting her days and nights not allowing her to live her life. She wanted to tell everyone what had happened, but by this point she felt it was too late. She would be judged for not acting on the situation. As the story unfolds, Cass is forgetting everything. Having a mother that was diagnosed with early onset dementia and later died from it, her forgetfulness was troubling her, but her husband assisted and supported her. She becomes a prisoner of her own home not wanting to go out or spend time with her friends. Her husband suggests for her to see a doctor who in turn prescribes her medication for paranoia and other mental conditions. She takes them in hopes of numbing the crazy things that have been happening in her life. The medication makes her tired and she sleeps most of the days away so that she is awake when her husband Matthew comes home. Cass doesn’t want Matthew to see what the pills do to her because she is afraid he will have her stop taking them. The entire book makes you speculate with a ratcheting sense of unease. Paris does a great job of expressing the mental state of Cass deteriorating piece by piece and then WOW- I didn’t see that coming at all. A story of lies, betrayal, and guilt.

The Breakdown

Would you stop to help the driver of a stalled vehicle on an isolated wooded road during a major storm?