Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Why We Broke Up by David Handler

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.

I first came across this book while browsing on Barnes & Noble, and it immediately sounded interesting. Not only was it by David Handler - better known as Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I absolutely loved - but it was a unique title, and even if a story about breakup isn't new, the way it was told certainly was. I liked what I read of the preview and was planning to buy it on my Nook, but they got it into the school library and I immediately pounced on it and had it read within a few days.

It was fantastic. I loved it. The writing style was very different from A Series of Unfortunate Events, but the best elements were still there, and it was really amazing - every detail was so clear, every emotion perfectly captured.

The plot and the way it was told was also amazing. The pictures were such a unique idea and added so much to the story, and each one was beautifully done. The plot wasn't suspenseful, but it still made me want to keep reading - I was unable to put the book down because I was so caught up in Min and Ed's romance. The emotion in this book was definitely one of its strongest points - it was so real, almost tangible, and raw - I could feel everything the characters went through as if I was going through it with them, which is one of the things that made this book so incredible. Speaking of the characters - they were all awesome. I could definitely relate to Min and understand her, and I loved her and sympathized with her; I never questioned what she said, and telling the story from her point of view made it compelling without being overdramatic. Ed was also an incredible character - although he had plenty of faults, he was never unlikeable, not even at the end. The story told why they broke up without making me hate him, which is an incredible achievement. Al was another fantastic character who seemed to defy logic - everything about him easily could have become cliche, but somehow it never was. Even the minor characters were given attention and developed, with each one having a distinct and dynamic personality.

I think the most important thing about this book is that I just loved reading it - so much that I didn't want  it to end. Min and Ed's relationship was so real and seemingly perfect that I wanted to read more and more about them, and I was almost disappointed when they broke up - but not quite, because the way things worked out was also spectacular and perfect.

This book has convinced me that Daniel Handler is a writing genius, and I highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone. It's already become one of my favorite books of all time.


1 comment:

  1. One of the highest compliments you can pay a writer is that you didn't want the story to end. Now I'm curious about the book.