March 22, 2012

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler

Young Adult
Pages: 368
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 27, 2011

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 was seriously expecting to be blown away by this one. So maybe my expectations were too high. I'll start with the things I liked.

I LOVED the fact that this has so much to do with Cinema and its history. I really enjoy classic movies, I've taken several cinema history courses in college, so it was a pleasure to be able to read about a character (Min) who shares that passion. I also really enjoyed how committed Min and Al were to being original and quirky and different. That 'Bitter Sixteen' party was cool to read about. So character-wise, this book was cool. The writing also flowed flawlessly.

Now, that said, I will flinch for a long long time now every time I hear a 'whatnot'. I'm sad to say that I wanted to slap Min for saying it. Her cool sassy voice had nothing to do with her stupidity in the plot. This also bothered me. And Ed was so moronically unbearable that I wanted to rip off the page sometimes. Which was somewhat the point of it, but I just couldn't relate to Min's whine-fest whan you can obviously see it coming. Predictability also left me underwhelmed.

A friend told me recently that she sometimes failed to enjoy contemporary YA because she already has kids and didn't need more whining so she sticks to fantasy. I was like, "what? there's no whining in YA!". I guess this is the kind of whining she was talking about.

Overall, while I did enjoy the audio version a lot, because the reader was absolutely awesome, the story left me a little unsatisfied.


  1. I haven't heard good things about this book... and you seem to feel the same as everyone else. Think I will wait a little longer to read this.


  2. I agree about Min's whining. I did love the quirk and the writing though. Great review!

  3. Hmmm...I have this and I was looking forward to reading it. Now I guess I will go into it with lower expectations so that I'm not as disappointed. I loathe whiny characters... =/
    Great review!

  4. I've been hearing a lot of similar things about this book, but I still really want to read it. I just like the set-up they have for it, for the one thing. And cinema? How awesome! I'm a cinema studies minor, so that should be fun.


  5. I had trouble believing that a whole book could be written about an approximately one month long high school relationship and toward the end, I could see the stretching as I just grew frustrated with Min.


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