Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REVIEW: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

I really loved Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler!  I thought the story to be utterly sweet and heart-breaking at the same time.  I thought the format to be different and quite clever.  I thought the unravelling of this relationship gone wrong happened at just the right pace and I enjoyed the mystery of what actually happened between the two. 

Yeah, I just really enjoyed these glimpses into these teenage relationship - as a reader, I could relate to the early swoony stages of their romance but at the same time, we're thrown these little snippets of where things went a bit sour.  Why We Broke Up is quite a short story, I really flew through the pages quite quickly and this is helped by the accompanying (gorgeous!) artwork by Moira Kalman.  I thought the illustrations and the tone of the novel complemented each other really well and I couldn't see myelf enjoying the story as much without the pretty artwork! 

The story starts with a box filled with all those bits and pieces that make up a relationship - movie stubs and little notes and stolen sugar from a restaurant.  And together with all of these things is a letter from Min to Ed explaining why exactly they broke up.  I loved that this is how the story is told, both in letter format which makes the narrative feel quite chatty and personal, but also using these objects (with pictures!) to tell a story of this short-lived but quite emotional connection between two people.  We're witness to all the good stuff of getting to know each other's quirks and the introductions of our passions (classic films and basketball) but also to those little moments that don't feel quite right, the comments that are made that make us feel uneasy, that things that were chosen or done or didn't do. 

I really got a sense of the therapeutic value that Min achieves through dissecting this relationship with Ed, going over the things that were done right and wrong.  It was really bittersweet, this walk down all of the good and bad memories with Ed.  It's definitely a walk that I'm glad that I took alongside Min.  I think most of us can relate to this story of short-lived romance followed by heartbreak.  This is a really beautiful book, one I recommend!

15 comments:

  1. I loved this book too - I adored the way that Min was almost making a film out of her life with scenes behind all her souvenirs. And I agree with you about the illustrations! Great review - thank you!

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    1. It was very visual, I didn't think it at the time, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see it as being cinematic in the way that she described everything!

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  2. Great review, you've definitely sold me on this. I had flicked quickly through a copy but wasn't sure whether it was for me or not, sounds like it is :)

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    1. I hadn't heard anything about it before I started and I was very pleasantly surprised! I loved it.

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  3. I love this book! (Am I commenter 10,000? Can't resist a mention of a prize...)

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    1. No, sorry, but thanks for trying :)

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  4. I'm SO going to read this book!!! :D

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    1. I hope you enjoy it like I did :)

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  5. This looks great! I've only ever seen one other review of this and now I really want to read it. Thanks for posting! :)

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  6. I'm really looking forward this as I've heard such mixed things about it. Hopefully I love it as much as you do!

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  7. This sounds really interesting. I probably wouldn't have picked it up from the title, but it sounds like there's quite a lot of depth there.

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    1. I really expected it to be cute and sweet, but it ended up being more!

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  8. Great review, I loved this one too but at times the voice was very off for me. That was my only niggle, agree with everything you've said though!

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    1. Yeah, I saw some of your conversations about it on Twitter. I could see your point with it though :)

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