Tuesday, July 31, 2012
REVIEW: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
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!