Why We Broke Up is a book I had been eager to read long before its publication date. Written by Daniel Handler (otherwise known as Lemony Snicket, well known for his fantastic ‘Unfortunate Events’ books), and being discussed as a new alternative for fans of John Green, I decided that this was a story I was not going to miss.
What first caught my eye – the fantastic illustrations by Maira Kalman. It’s so rare to find an illustrated teenage/young adult book these days, and in this case, it really gave that little something extra to the story. They were wonderful, touching, and felt very personal.
‘When I look at this ripped in half, I think of the travesty of what you did and the travesty of how I didn’t care at the time.’
The story could be described simply as just one long letter. Min is writing to her ex-boyfriend Ed explaining why they broke up, delving back in to their past to discover what really happened. There are sections where Min loses her train of thought, becomes a little rambling and goes off on a tangent, but that’s partly what makes this story so wonderfully realistic.
‘This is what I stole. Here’s it back. I thought, my goddamn ex-love, that it was cute that you carried this around to help you map out your thinking. Cute in your pocket all the time. I’m not a cuckoo, either. I’m a fool is what.’
The concept, and the story in fact, is straightforward and simple. It is this simplicity and normality that makes this book what it is: oh so relatable. Handler writes Min in such a way, that she could be relatable to anyone, male or female, young or old. Her highs are your highs, her optimism is your optimism, her faults are your faults. Thy hit the nail on the head when they wrote on the back cover “Min and Ed’s story of heartbreak may remind you of your own”, it will indeed.
‘I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. And the truth is that I goddamn loved you so much.’
Despite having a nice proof copy of this book, I went out and bought myself a lovely hardback version. Those illustrations are worth it, and the story too. Plus, it looks great on the bookshelf! 🙂
Suitable for age 14+
Original Book Girl