Skip to main content

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is a beautiful and heart-breaking book. It tells the story of the failed relationship between Min and Ed, two teenagers in love. Min’s ‘Dear John’ letter to Ed is composed of the many objects they accrued together, which she is returning to him in one big box. This assortment of things tells not just of their time together but also explains why they cannot any longer be a couple.

Why We Broke UpMin and Ed go to the same school, but are from different social circles. She is a little alternative, he’s a bit of a jock. They are drawn together despite of their differences. For Ed it is one of the main attractions about Min; she’s not like all the other girls he’s fooled around with. Min likes Ed too, but she is more aware of the gulf between them. For a short, glorious time they are able to bridge the gap, and have something special.

I love the way in which Min dissects their relationship with the benefit of hindsight. She has some exacting standards, and is sometimes harsh in her assessment of Ed’s failings. She’s not prepared to settle, and for that I applaud her. She has more strength of mind than I did as a teenager, that’s for sure.

As well as being an engrossing story, it also has these amazing illustrations. A picture accompanies each item Min puts into the box. I looked forward to finding out what the next thing would be both for the drawing and the memory it would prompt Min to share.

Although this is a teen fiction novel, I think it will resonate with many adults too, sending them on a wistful trip down memory lane. First loves and first heartbreaks are powerful things.


Popular posts from this blog

Interview With The Vampire: Claudia's Story by Anne Rice and Ashley Marie Witter

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden and the Borden Murders See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The story of Lizzie Borden has a whiff of folklore about it, it feels hazy to me, apocryphal perhaps, something half known and uncertain like Washington and the cherry tree or the ride of Paul Revere. Shamefully, I had to Google both the latter two examples to double check they were the events I thought I was referring to. I choose them deliberately though - is it my Englishness that makes these events fuzzy to me? Do these stories live in the American psyche the way Magna Carta, Henry VIII and his six wives, and Jack the Ripper (to select three almost at random) live in mine? 
I remember a book we stocked when I was a very young bookseller at Waterstones in Watford that looked at the psychology of children who murder their parents. The copy on the back of the book talked of Lizzie Borden. I remember half wondering about the case, then shelving the book away and moving onto the next armful. But it stuck in my m…

Super Special Summer Picnic Book Chase

My nieces and nephews and I have a monthly book club, called Book Chase (although it sometimes gains an extra 's' to become Book Chasse). The rules are simple: we all bring something we've read during the last month, talk about it to each other, and eat snacks. We live tweet each meeting with the hashtag BookChase. Sometimes, when we remember, we Storify all the tweets too. This month, we remembered!