Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
by Daniel Handler

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. (description from
It's funny. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, but once I actually sat down to read it, I fell right in and enjoyed it...whole hog. I had prepared to feel ho-hum about it, but I really enjoyed the whole experience. 
I liked the feel of the pages, the weight of the book, and the pictures of items that accompanied each chapter.  I loved the concept of one gigantic letter, full of relationship vignettes that add up to the demise of a couple. ...And, I, unlike a lot of other people, totally got Min.  I felt like it was listening to myself when I was still in high school.
I knew what I loved, I liked my friends, and yet... when the guy came along that was into everything else, I was not assertive enough to make it clear that I was into different things or that I really loved my friends and everything they were into...
Min may have been way too complacent at times in her relationship with Ed, but I felt that was totally believable! Regrettable, but believable.  I also understood, well...most of the time, how Ed liked Min, even though he totally had no clue as to who she really was...
Though this book was sad, it was also hopeful. In the sense that Min was growing and learning from her relationship's demise.  I think she'll become a stronger person from the experience.
Full disclosure: ARC received at BEA 2011

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