Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 6th August 2012
My rating: 3.5 stars
This is the box, Ed. Inside is everything. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket from Greta in the Wind, a note from you, a box of matches, your protractor, Joan's book, the stolen sugar, a toy truck, those ugly earrings, a comb from the motel, and the rest of it. This is it Ed. The whole story of how we broke up.
For the first time in forever we had beautiful weather in the U.K, so I decided to relax outside with this book. I didn’t really know what to expect when picking it up, but I was glad to be suckered in just by the first few pages. Why we broke Up is a letter which Min writes to Ed explaining why they broke up. The book doesn’t read like a letter at all, but is a well crafted story of Min and Ed’s relationship. Ed and Min were the sort of people you wouldn’t expect to be together. Ed co-captain of the football team and had been with every girl in school and Min; who’s different, arty some would say. Some would say they were totally wrong for one another, Min and Ed’s friends seemed to think so, but that didn’t stop them, because they knew the thing between them was right.
The strange thing about this book was that despite the glaringly obvious title I actually didn’t want Ed and Min to break up, their relationship though far from perfect with Ed having been around so much and Min not so much, so there was always the pressure on Min having to live up to the hype of his previous girlfriends also with people being constantly judgemental, what could be so different about her that she ended up with the Ed Slaterton? If we took these obstacles out of the equation their relationship was charming. It was obvious to see that they were both infatuated with each other. Ed totally had me with his sweet gestures and his oh so sweet lines. Seriously I totally fell for Ed Slaterton too, what wasn’t to love? He was gentle, confident but not cocky and always thoughtful when it concerned Min. The little mistakes he made along the way I completely overlooked especially when he was pulling out lines such as these;
“I’m sorry ... twenty-six you said. One for each day we’ve been together, Min... And I hope that someday I’ll do another something stupid and I’ll have to say it a million times because that’s how long it’ll be together with you, Min with you”
See their relationship looked and sounded so perfect. So you can see why I sat outside in the sun all day immersed in this book as I needed to know why they broke up!
The illustrations, by Kalman before each chapter of the items Min had collected over the course of her relationship with Ed I adored. Not only were they gorgeously beautiful but they made Ed and Min’s relationship seem that more real. Each item Min had collected had its own uniqueness and meaning behind keeping it in the first place. I enjoyed learning the back story of every item and how at the time they’d played a meaningful part of their relationship.
The writing at times I did find difficult to grasp, when Min was describing something her train of thought would carry on for ages that I was lost at times with what her original point was to begin with. But the fact the writing was beautiful, completely made up for it; it lulls you into a false sense of security that everything is going to be okay. That before I knew it I was falling hard and fast for the characters. Whilst telling the story, Min’s voice had such a heartfelt and strong essence about it, you could tell she was putting her heart and soul into the letter. The details and feelings she expressed made me feel as if at times I was going through the relationship myself. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, even though I knew what was going to happen, it was an unexpected sucker punch at the end. I don’t know if I would have preferred to have been kept blissfully unaware just so that my impression I had of a particular character wouldn’t have to be tarnished.
Overall Why We Broke Up was a beautiful read, out of the several debut reads I have devoured this year, it will definitely be one of the most memorable.