Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

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.

Literary Awards: Printz Honor 2012


I had no business picking this book up since i had no experience ever in dealing with breakups. Sure, my friends bombard me with theirs – how awful, degrading, traumatizing, humiliating, or funny it was. But personal experience? Nah. And I am blessed, you know? Because the one and only guy I fell in love with… he spared me the bitter taste of a breakup. ūüėČ

I read Why We Broke Up simply because I was startled to know that it was a 2012 Print Honor recipient despite the less than stellar ratings of my GR friends. But when I saw the shiny, shiny illustrations, I was excited to read it! It reminded me of The Sky Is Everywhere, which has illustrations as well.

I was prepared to smack¬†Min‘s head for falling for a player like Ed. But as her letter unfolds, I was getting smitten with her stories behind every single thing that she’s returning to Ed. Simple trinkets like a folded note, a match, a camera. I have this quirky habit, too. I still have the notes I passed back and forth with my friends in high school. the pressed petals i was given as a gesture of apology. At this level, I connected with Min.

It breaks my heart, that even though i know how¬†Ed¬†will break Min’s (based on the first few pages), it was still a stinging slap for both Min and me when it happened. Blinded by her so-called love, she refused to acknowledge the warning signs that Ed will eventually make her cry. I badly wanted Ed to be a good guy, because hell, if you read how they relationship grew, you’d fall for him, too. But no, Handler emphasized on¬†bad¬†in bad guy Ed, and oh, how ugly it was. ūüė¶

The reference on old movies i don’t quite get, and when Min started every memory from her fave old movies, i get distracted. Here I am trying to figure out, maybe even justify Ed’s actions, and Min just keep on yapping about these movies and lead characters.

A bit predictable,¬†We Broke Up¬†stirs up ugly emotions that are inherrent to breakups. It’s sad that Min learned the truth that way, but at least she has the guts to admit that in spite of it all, she really did love the jerk that was Ed.

I can’t stop thinking about you.

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