Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
|Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Two incredibly annoying main characters beg the question Why Did I Read This?|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 368||Date: August 2012|
|Publisher: Electric Monkey|
Minerva and Ed were in a relationship. For various reasons, that relationship has come to an end. Minerva decides to help herself to move on from her ex-boyfriend by packing up everything she connects with him into a box and leaving it on his doorstep, along with a long letter explaining why they broke up. A long, long letter.
Well, having read this book, I now know why Min and Ed broke up. What I don’t know is firstly, why they got together in the first place, and secondly, why anyone thought we’d care. Two strong contenders for the least likeable main characters in years – Minerva is an oh-so-angsty ‘arty’ girl whose narration, in the form of a letter to Ed, consists of countless run-on sentences which occasionally made me think the book was never going to end. Ed is a stereotypical jock who somehow manages to become more one-dimensional as the story goes on. Their relationship never seems remotely believable and while that’s perhaps partly down to Handler’s skill in portraying Min’s disgust with her ex-boyfriend after they’ve broken up (which you’d expect, to be fair) I can’t help but think that it’s mainly because the thought of anyone lasting long in a romance with someone as obnoxious as Ed is just too hard to swallow. Add in an ending which is staggeringly predictable and there’s little to recommend this one in terms of the quality of writing. Oh, speaking about staggeringly predictable, you’ll guess Min’s best friend Al’s entire character arc within five pages of him being introduced.
Having said that, the artwork by Maira Kalman, depicting objects in the box Min gives to Ed along with her letter, is significantly better than the prose by Handler, capturing them beautifully and the pictures were definitely the most enjoyable part of the book for me. Overall I definitely wouldn’t recommend it, though.
For another book dealing with the fall-out from a teen break-up, which I much preferred, check out Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph.
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