Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler (art by Maira Kalman)
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Page Count: 354
My Rating: 2 stars
Acquired: 2nd and Charles, $6.00 store credit
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.
We’ve all been there right? Brokenhearted, sick of seeing little things that remind us of him/her, desperately seeking closure. In that sense, the story was very believable. I thought the delivery of the story as a letter to Ed was a cute idea as well. There were a few pieces of the story that had me shaking my head and how idiotic they were, but for the most part I enjoyed it.
I got a decent sense of who everyone was. Unfortunately, I didn’t like any of the characters except Al. He seemed like the only normal, genuine person. Min seemed childish and Ed was a major d-bag.
My biggest problem with this book is the way Daniel Handler writes. I think it might just be his style and I might not be a fan. The way that he structures sentences is incredibly difficult to read, requiring me to repeatedly read the same sentence after muttering a frustrated, “wait, what?” He’s also a huge fan of run-on sentences, though marathon-sentences may be a more accurate phrase. There was one instance of a half-page long sentence inside a 3-page-long paragraph. It was exhausting. Daniel Handler also used references to old movies as a means to describe certain situations or feelings. Not only did I find this pretentious, but I also found it hard to believe that the average YA reader would get any of the references. Why use such obscure and dated references? It added nothing to the story for me and I found myself glossing over them. Overall, Mr. Handler’s writing style killed this book for me. I will not be picking up another of his works.
Feel free to check out my succinct Goodreads review for a bonus spoilery rant.