Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Illustator: Maira Kalman
Published: December 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Ok... I admit it. After reading a couple chapters of this book I thought I was going to hate it. I thought that I was going to have to flop it. Why? Because the main character is a baby hipster who drinks coffee and goes to old movie houses and knows the names of all these old starlets. I just didn't think that I could handle it. And her love interest is a basketball player jock-bo who pulls her in all directions with his clique and her clique and bahs.... I didn't think I could stomach much more.
But you know what? If you can get past that. And if you can read just a tad bit more. You'll discover that this book has Five Star potential. And if you can get to the part that I did and read on to the end then you'll realize that this book is a Five Star book and deserves to be labeled as one.
Sure, this book is kinda out there. It's not for everyone. But if you are a fan of Francesca Lia Block then you'll probably adore it. I honestly didn't think that a man could write like this and at first I eye-rolled his attempts but soon found myself falling in love with the way he wrote the story.
It's not really an original idea... the plot... that is. The Arty Clique girl falls in love with the Sporty Team Boy. I mean, it's been done before. But that's not what makes the book interesting. This book has pictures!
The story revolves around a box of mementos and when each one was given to Min and how it involved her relationship with Ed. There's a picture for each one which I found very unique. I'd never read a book quite like this that had so many pictures that wasn't a comic book.
But the downside to so many pictures is that this book weighs like a ton!! It's sooo heavy!! It's printed on slick glossy paper like you would find inside an art book. So, I recommend that you have a table available or maybe stretch before reading because this book will give you a workout once you turn the first page.
Another thing that I thought was cute was the back cover. It has several famous authors telling you reasons why they broke up when they were teens. I thought that was very unique.
Also, the cover is quite cute. But not the dust jacket. I do not like the dust jacket!!! But if you take it off you will see that the book is printed with a whole bunch of rose petals. Loves that!!
The way this book is written just adds to the artistic detail of the pictures. The words sketch a story with a paintbrush of teenage angst. Like I said... in the beginning I hated this book and in the end I fell in love. I kind of thought the author was trying to hard with the way he worded things but after a while I found out that I really was enjoying the voice of the story.
One of the best things about this book is the fact that GRETA is mentioned all the way through. Greta is a character in an old film and our two love birds are wanting to throw the actress who plays her a n 89th birthday party in her honor. Just for the mention of my name made me fall in love even more. But all Gretas are kind of narcissistic. If you are a Greta, I assure you that you will love this book.
It's a really neat story. And like most YA there is some sexual situations. It's not too graphic. I would say a fourteen year old would be fine reading this. There is also a bit of cussing but again... nothing that will scar Junior, at least not in my opinion. No drug use but there is some underage drinking. That didn't bother me either.
If you've never read an 'arty' book then I say give this one a shot. It might surprise you.
**Paranormal Wastelands would like to thank the folks at Little Brown for giving us a chance to review this book.