January 2, 2012

Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
Published by Little Brown Books for Young readers
December 2011
368 Pages


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.

My Thoughts:

   I wanted to love this book. I saved reading it so it would be the first book I read in 2012. The concept sounded fabulous. A girl (Min) delivers a letter and a box to her ex-boyfriend (Ed) with the intention of illustrating  why they broke up. I loved the concept, I loved that illustrations of each of the items she returned to her ex was included in the book.  I thought Min and Al were likable.- Not Ed of course, but the writing style got in the way of everything I liked about the book.

Unfortunately, I did not love the writing.  The sentences, paragraphs, and pages seemed to run together. I get that we were seemingly in Min's consciousness, experiencing her thoughts as she wrote them, but those thoughts felt jumbled and were challenging to decipher. There was too much dialogue as well.. "I said" then "you said" then "she said", I found it made the story disjointed, stilted and hard to follow. Perhaps I didn't fully understand the authors intentions, or maybe I built the book up so much in my own head, that I couldn't be anything but disappointed. I think what's more likely is that this type of writing style, just isn't for me. 


  1. I'm sorry to hear that the writing style wasn't as good as you expected. I've seen this one in stores and the pictures look absolutely gorgeous. Not really something I would read either way, but it's nice reading the review to know it's a little better to stay away from for now.


  2. This book keeps calling to me for some reason! I saw it at a bookstore and I keep seeing it on B&N online... :)

    But, I'm not as interested in it any more...maybe my library will get it and I'll give it a shot that way :)

  3. That's too bad it didn't live up to your expectations. I've got a copy on my shelf at home and I'm still pretty excited to read it. I'll try to keep my expectations in check though :)