Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Harper Collins)
Published: December 27, 2011
Pages: 368
Received: ARC from publisher for honest review
BUY NOW: Amazon

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

I loved the idea of a book explaining the reason behind a breakup and using all of the little momentos collected throughout the courtship. Such a great idea! I guarantee that girls collect these things either knowingly or unknowingly and keep them to remind them of all the great times they have had with their loved one.

This letter that Min writes to Ed explaining how every little treasure reminds her of a reason why they broke up is very heart wrenching, living every moment all over again, from the good and the bad. Such a great way to explore emotion. My favourite item was: the little toy truck and the reason Ed gave it to Min.

I had a hard time with Min's character - I didn't dislike her, but I also didn't love her. She was not the kind of girl that you normally see in novels. She is into really old movies and constantly quoting from them and comparing every situation to an old movie she has seen. She is different from all of the other girls at school, but doesn't really fall into a category/clique like you would expect. At the end of the book Min has this gigantic rant about what she is not: 
And the truth is that I'm not, Ed, is what I wanted to tell you. I'm not different. I'm not arty like everyone says who doesn't know me.... I'm not athletic, I'm not a goth or a cheerleader, I'm not treasurer or co-captain.... I'm not anything, this is what I realized...
This last chapter where she states what she is not, is the only section where I felt like I could relate to her, because as a teen I really didn't fit into a mold. I was friends with an eclectic group of people. I was a tad nerdy, but mostly stuck to myself and did my own thing - kinda like Min. I also tried to fit in with the cooler crowds when I had boyfriends like Ed, but it just never felt right. So I guess Min might have known all along that it wouldn't work out, but was too in love to see it clearly. (Been there, done that).

And well Ed is a mixture of things. Definitely a guys guy/jock, but also there were times where he seemed like so much more. He did so many things with Min that seemed out of character for him, but made him all the more endearing for a while. It's almost like he had been afraid to let people see who he truly was and Min let this side of him shine, but mostly when they were alone. Sadly, the jock personality takes back over and his need to be popular and fit in win out. Jerk. 

Overall, I think this was a worthwhile read to view a teenage relationship through the eyes of a heartbroken girl. It captured the emotions so well and the way you associate an item with a fleeting moment in time. I just wasn't a fan of Min comparing everything to those old movies... it was lost on me.

EDIT: There is mature content in this book, so my recommendation is that this should be for OLDER teens or adults. 

You can find an amazing review of this book over at Wandering Librarians 


  1. WOW! I did not expect this book to have so much depth, but you make it sound really interesting! What a great, thorough and detailed review! You gave some great insights into the book without making it spoilery - I love that! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I'm gonna head over to GR now and add it to my TBR :)

    1. I hope you like it... at first I was torn while reading it - unsure if I was liking it or not, but by the end and after some thought, I realized it was really a great story. :)


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