Monday, 16 July 2012

Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke UpTitle: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Series: Standalone
Pages: 354
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Date of Publication: 6th August 2012
Source: Publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My Thoughts:
There's a whole lot of hype surrounding this book. Whoever I talk to, it seems that Why We Broke Up is one of the best books that's been read recently. Everybody's raving, or recommending it, and I can kind of see why. I can imagine that for some people this book would be the best, but for me, not so much. It was not amazing, not bad, just a good, enjoyable, but probably forgettable read.

Maybe it's because I've never been through a break-up, (you need to have had a relationship for one of those... ;P ) but while I understood the story and it was easy for me to see it playing out in my head, I couldn't relate to the characters or the story they told. It felt more like a movie than a book - because when I watch movies I do it to relax - I watch them and then forget them. Maybe this is why I don't cry at sad movies - I just don't invest in the characters nearly as much as when I read. So that's why it felt like a movie - I found it difficult to really care about Min and Ed, and while I liked them and was interested in their story while reading it, they don't strike me as a couple who will stick in my mind for very long after I've finished this review and don't need to think about them again.

The book is told in the form of a super long letter that Min is giving to Ed, along with a box of objects that are somehow significant to their relationship: everyday, unimportant objects like a comb or a protractor, that someone outside of the story would not think twice about. I liked the way that every object had a story, and all these stories made up one big recount of the relationship between Min and Ed. It was great that we got all this detail and it was awesome to take every little step of their relationship with them. This idea was what interested me and I'm pleased to report that it did not disappoint.

The main reason I didn't enjoy this as much as I wanted to was the characters. They let the book down for me, as they just seemed particularly unremarkable. They were normal and kind of boring teenagers whom I didn't much care for. I found Min's writing style to be very awkward and it being written in second person (because it's a letter) sounded weird in my head. It's why I couldn't read Stolen by Lucy Christopher - I just can't get on with it, and I have no idea why. To me, it just sounds wrong... And Ed was cute but he always seemed kind of jerkish, right from the beginning. He kept going on about how Min was so different to every other girl he'd ever been with, and that would just annoy the crap out of me, so I didn't like him much. And at the end - what was he doing?! Nope, definitely didn't like him!

The best thing about this book though, were the amazing drawings that went with every chapter. There was a gorgeous image of whatever Min is talking about every few pages, and they are so well drawn and they go hand in hand with the story perfectly. Without them, this book would definitely not be the same. I also really liked all the old film references at the beginning. It would have been more awesome if the films mentioned were real films I could watch, but I thought it was cool that Min had something that she loved so much that she could relate it to everything in her life. She's such a film-nerd and it's awesome ;D

Overall, I enjoyed reading Why We Broke Up but I didn't think it was as amazing as everyone said it was. That's not to say I didn't like it - I did - just not as much as I was hoping to. I'd still recommend it, especially if you're a fan of YA contemporary, or if you've read the synopsis and you think it sounds good. Or, you could just buy it for the pictures, because they are freaking awesome.


  1. Come back to this after a break up, I think you'll have a different opinion then ;P

  2. Ooh, great review! I'm reading this at the moment and loving it so far. :)

  3. What a shame you didn't love it as much as you expected! I did though :)


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