BOOK REVIEW: Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler

GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction, Romance
FORM: Audiobook
NARRATOR: Khristine Hvam

SYNOPSIS: A letter written by Min to Ed explaining all of the things that she kept from their relationship that are included in a box she is leaving on his door step, and what they meant to her.

REVIEW: Why We Broke Up is a five and a half hour (via audiobook) monologue of…well exactly that. Sounds boring? Well, it really isn’t. What you get in that monologue, which is actually a letter written to Min’s ex-boyfriend, of their entire relationship from start to finish. She points out areas where she should have seen the break up coming, where she knew things were going wrong but had remained blind.

The relationship between Min and Ed was actually very sweet most of the time, like when it was just the two of them together. Outside of that scenario, Ed was kind of a jerk. I did feel like his feelings were very true and exactly how Min described it, “fragile.” Something so new and big to him that in a way I think he couldn’t handle it’s magnitude. Or perhaps I still just want to think the best of him and he not only acted like super-mega jerk, he actually IS super-mega jerk! Anyway, I enjoyed the book – but on the other hand, the entire thing was very predictable. I loved Min and Ed’s adventure, and the way they came together so sweetly. That was a fun experience, but we all knew what was coming in the end. (Well, DUH, title..)

Al, on the other hand, was a dope. He sat around on his feelings way too long, and Min was equally stupid for not catching on anyway. I am glad that there wasn’t some grand stateMint at the end – a proclamation of undying love that was going to last forever – but that never would have happened. What I enjoyed most about this book was how realistic it was, and in this story Min has put herself out there and proclaimed a love that was shattered, and she isn’t one of those girls who has that kind of reaction on a weekly basis. (Sorry about the spoiler, but as I said, this book was very predictable, if you didn’t figure this out within the first couple of chapters…well, I’m sorry, but you should have!)

Daniel Handler’s writing style was very descriptive and detail oriented. He created a picture where you could see what the characters where seeing, actually hear the slam of the lockers, etc. The book brought me back to High School, and it was so accurate – from the description of going to a sporting event, to a school dance, all the way to standing in the hallway with your peers; it was almost as if Daniel was in high school himself. (Maybe he is or recently was? I haven’t really done any author research or anything.) It was kind of a nice flashback, at least in that way that is nostalgic but not something you actually want to do sort of way. I was completely under impressed with the names of his characters, however. And really, a name IS important in a book – they help shape personalities in my opinion. In the case of this book, I would have though (without reading) that this book was full of very dull characters with barely any personalities at all. Not people I would be jumping at the chance to get to know…

My only regret is, having listened to this on audiobook, I did not get to see the illustrations of the book. I might have to flip through the book in a bookstore or library just so I can find out what I was missing out on.

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