Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of Why We Broke Up

My review of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman is based on an ARC that I received in a giveaway. The following review is my honest opinion of the work.

Goodreads Summary: "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've always kept a boyfriend box. A box filled with all of those careless trinkets, memories and moments that make up a relationship. My Mom likes to say it's just another one of those things that make me a packrat but I prefer to think of it in the same way that Lorelei explains to Rory, that you hold on to these things to remember the good...that you shouldn't throw them away in haste because they are precious memories and not regrets. These boxes are made up of things that you may not want today or even think of, but things that one day will mean the world.

It's because of this habit of mine that I was immediately attracted to this book. I can recall countless times when I would dig out the box of my ex-boyfriend So-and-So, removing each item with care and thinking of what it meant to our relationship. I would think of the whys, the whens and the hows. I would wonder if they would see these things in the same light or if they were merely trash that should have been discarded ages ago. Part of me would always want to take the time to relive these things, but not just for myself, to them. To tell them our history, what summed us up and how things worked out the way they did. Because Min chose to do this very thing with Ed I wanted to read this book.

From page one I fell in love with Min's voice, with her vivid descriptions of how things were and are. I could feel her emotions pouring from the pages, see the importance that she saw in each item she carefully tucked away in the box until the day came when she gave it all back. I could feel part of me in Min, the part that wanted to hold on to all of those little things that everyone else forgets and to this day hold them in my hand bring back the moments and emotion from whence they came.

I could see the magic that Min created within Ed, the way that she washed over him and that every thing he did was right with the rightness of first love. Their moments were sweet but Ed did not win me over. I never experience the first bloom of being in love with Ed that Min did. I could see from the beginning, even if the title hadn't clued me in, why they would break up. Maybe not the why so much as inevitability of a break-up between the two of them. Ed was your typical jock, the very stereotype of a jock and little more.

I'm giving Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman a five out of five stars review. This was quite possibly one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, real books that I have ever read. The writing was so honest, so over-flowing with emotion. Min and Ed were so real to me, those people thrown together that never really should have been. The people whose friends see from miles away as being so very wrong, but together and only together so right. I can't explain this book in any way that would do it justice, other than to tell you that it's a must-read.


  1. It was! I wish I would have had it in time for my last break-up a few years back.