Friday, January 4, 2013

Review of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke UpI'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.
(Summary from GoodReads)

Since you can log onto GoodReads and read loads of one star reviews for Why We Broke Up, I’m going to be straight with you: this is a book that you will either love or hate. Why We Broke Up is rather character driven, and Min is an incredibly distinct character.  I am one of the few I know who adored this book.

The concept of Why We Broke Up is quite original.  Min is writing a letter to her ex-boyfriend.  The letter accompanies a box of objects that Min considered somehow significant throughout their relationship.  This isn’t really a book that you read for the sake of the plot, as the title kind of reveals how it’s all going to end.  It’s a book you read if you want to get to know two unique characters and see how they unfold.

Min spends a lot of the book referencing film, and I found a lot of her references to be pretty obscure.  She’s a very mature and thoughtful character, and I know some people said that her voice didn’t sound like a typical sixteen-year-olds.  I honestly don’t see that at all—even as a high schooler and now as an adult, I knew/know a lot of teens who have niche interests and are strikingly mature for their age.

I feel as though a lot of quirky books get mixed reviews because they aren’t for everyone, yet I often find them brilliant (Chime is another example of this).  Why We Broke Up is a well-crafted story that will satisfy artsy teen readers.  As some bonus material, here is Daniel Handler and Maria Kalman’s Printz award acceptance speech, which is essentially the greatest thing ever.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Other reviews:


  1. I liked this book but I thought it was a little overblown since their relationship only lasted about a month. After a certain point, I felt like it just dragged on.

  2. Oh my gosh, that video was hilarious! I have been wanting to read Why We Broke Up, but just haven't gotten to it yet. I am glad you enjoyed it, and thanks so much for sharing that video!



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