Author: Daniel Handler
Illustrator: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Year: 2011
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.
You know how couple sometimes keeps little things that mark certain memories of them being together. Min did that, when she’s in a relationship with Ed. She kept a box full of things that mean something to them; their first date movie ticket, a note, Ed’s gift for her, and other stuffs. Now that they’re breaking up, Min decided to give the box back to Ed with an accompanying letter. In the letter she explained each thing and why they broke up.
This book is basically a letter that Min wrote to Ed. Min is sort of reminiscing the moment she was still with Ed while pointing out what was wrong with their relationship. Ed is your typical high school jock. He’s a co-captain of the school’s basketball team. He’s popular and he could get any girl that he wants. While Min is different. That’s how Ed describes her. Since we read it from Min’s perspective, I know what Ed means by that. Which is not arty. No, Min is not arty. She’s different because she’s not the usual kind of people who hang out with Ed. As I read through the book, I can see that they don’t make the best couple. Sometimes I wondered why she would date him in the first place. But who knows, no one knows what’s in people’s hearts. At least they tried to make it work. Well, Min did. But it takes two to tango.
At first, I found it hard to get into the writing. Min (Handler) wrote in long sentences and lot of commas. Once I get used to it, I can enjoy the narrative that Min told in her letter. The illustration is lovely. It helps me catching the feeling that Min went through with the breakup. When I finally get to where Min told us why they broke up, the big reason, I can’t help but sympathize with Min. It’s like I wanted to be there for Min and console her.
Why We Broke Up is a bittersweet love story. Some people might have experienced it. I wouldn’t recommend it for people who just went through break up. Maybe wait for a couple of weeks, or just read it so you can cry your heart out, I don’t know. It’s a good contemporary read though. I give it four out of five.