This novel explores the experience of thirteen-year-old Katie Collicut as she and her brothers face a challenge to family harmony, unity and a fairly routine lifestyle when Mr. Collicut suffers a nervous breakdown. Canadian author, Budge Wilson, introduces her readers to the obstacles a family must overcome when confronted with emotional illness: blame, helplessness, anger and social stigma. Breakdown describes what exactly a "nervous breakdown" is and is not. Such clarification is necessary to reassure the reader who may be wondering, "Is my father or mother having a nervous breakdown?" "Am l?" Do children worry about such issues as emotional and mental health? An unspoken answer to this question is the undeniable popularity of Breakdown. Not many books deal with this issue.