Rummanah Aasi
    I don't know about you but I love songs of heartbreak much more than your ordinary happy songs. Songs of heartbreak seem to be more genuine and contain a wide range of emotion while happy songs just seem so ephemeral. Does this make me weird? Probably. Cynical? Well, I prefer a realist. Daniel Handler's Printz nominated book Why We Broke Up is a book of heartache. Full with the ups and downs of a relationship, a wild ride that anyone and everyone has experienced. 

Description (from the Publisher): 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.

Review: The romance between Min Green and Ed Slaterton lasted just over a month. No one, from the novel and I would argue even the reader, sees why these two are together. Ed is the gorgeous, popular, basketball-jock who is a complete jerk. Min is an outspoken, outsider, and romantic-movie buff with frizzy hair. Ed just wants a good time, where Min lives in her romantic, fantasy world. Told from Min's point of view, each memento thrown in a box tells the story of their relationship and why they broke up.
  In her stream of conscious and dear john letter, Handler frames Min and Ed's lives with sharp clarity that it leaps off the page. We see these characters in front of us, feel their initial excitement when they first meet one another and shake our heads in disappointment with the first sign that they are breaking apart. Each ordinary object explained by Min's searing honesty, passion, and hind-sight 20/20 enlightenment and vividly illustrated by Kalman, becomes extraordinary. For instance in Ed's eyes a thrift-store cookbook is just, well, a cookbook, bur for Min it is a spur of the moment dinner party for an aging imaginary film star and her idol. It takes skill for a writer to pull off a stream of consciousness writing technique, but Handler does it very well. Min's narration comes across naturally and not forced. There were many times where I felt Min was sitting next to me and I was listening to her story instead of just reading it. As each object is thrown into the box for Ed, we like Min feel cathartic and powerful. Funny, poignant, smart, and sad, any one who has experienced heartbreak of any kind will relate to this book.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and reference to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    This sounds like a really different read, and I love that about it. I haven't really read a book that's written as a stream of consciousness and I think I would enjoy it since it's done so well in this case. Thanks for putting this one on my radar Rummanah!

  2. Hm. I've heard a lot about this book, but was never quite convinced. I usually avoid contemporary, and besides, it didn't sound like something I'd enjoy. And yet, somehow, you've made me reconsider, Rummanah. The prose alone probably makes it worth my time.
    Wonderful review!

  3. I remember seeing a lot of positive reviews for this one when it came out, Rummanah. I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet but I love that the author is able to make the reader see ordinary items in a different light. You never know what ends up being memorable for someone else!

  4. Candace Says:

    I have eyed this one for awhile. I have picked it up at the store and the inside is gorgeous! I'm glad the the story was great as well and I will definitely watch for this one!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    This sounds so good! I love that simple cover and the way it seems different from other books...:)

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