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Why We Broke Up Hardcover – December 27, 2011
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"The Lemony Snicket author (writing under his own name) convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love."―Entertainment Weekly
"It's easy to predict how Handler's story will conclude from the book's few pages. It's more difficult to take such an everyday tragedy with a predictable ending and elevate it to an end point of enduring, emotionally effective art."―Los Angeles Times
* "Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Hander offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare."―School Library Journal (starred review)
* "A bittersweet diatribe of their break-up arranged around objects....all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts."―Booklist (starred review)
* "As objects from the box are revealed in Kalman's vividly rendered paintings, readers are taken beneath the surface of what will no doubt be one of the most talked-about romances in teen literature....A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs."―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
* "Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart...lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "Handler is at his best when he's creating verbal collages of ordinary, recognizable high-school moments....Like the perfect breakup song, this turns the searing experience of losing your heart into a cathartic work of art."―The Bulletin (starred review)
* "Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose."―The Horn Book (starred review)
"Happiness, passion, betrayal, and despair are detailed in stream of consciousness....Why We Broke Up is real and compelling."―VOYA
"Sure to resonate with all young adults."―Library Media Connection
"Anyone who's ever dealt with a bad breakup will love this book."―American Cheerleader
Top Customer Reviews
The story is told in the form of a letter Min writes to break up with her boyfriend Ed. In addition to Min and Ed, Min's friends Al and Lauren, and Ed's sister Joan were all vividly drawn, primarily using dialogue. I enjoyed their witty banter as well as their more serious talks. Handler perfectly captured the feelings that go with being a teenager, and with being a teenager in love. Maira Kalman's illustrations perfectly match the tone of the book.
One of the book's many strengths is the handling of the character Ed. Handler makes Ed likable, and the reader roots for Ed and Min's relationship, even though Min's break-up letter makes it clear there is something to be angry with Ed about.
I don't know how 15-year old readers would view this book, but I suspect it would be a good book for an "arty" teenager.
What we basically have here is the story of a relationship; a high school relationship and a short lived one at that. The story is told in the form of a letter that the girl is writing to her soon to be ex-boyfriend. It details the course of the relationship: how they met, their first date and subsequent dates, and of course all the things the boy did wrong that caused her to break up with him. I can see where this might appeal to high school kids who are currently living in this world, but for those of us who have put all that behind us, it holds little insight. It's full of sports and pep rallies and gossip and, unfortunately, no small amount of sex. And frankly, some of the sex was a bit too descriptive for my taste. If you didn't already know, Daniel Handler has also written books under the name of Lemony Snicket, very good books too. Hopefully none of his younger audience will stumble upon this one.
In spite of the mediocre story, I enjoyed Khristine Hvam's narration. She became a good personification of the main character, providing a good voice and character for her. This is my second Khristine Hvam audiobook and I'm more impressed with her all the time.
Narrator and main character, Min.
I liked Min. Though she spoke like she wasn't sixteen and made me feel like I needed to expand my vocabulary, I enjoyed her strong, smart voice. She was sarcastic and funny at times. I liked how she loved films and did quirky things like write her ex-boyfriend this break up letter and keep all these tokens during their two month relationship. I love her wild ideas of stealing sugar, planning a party for an old actress, bitter birthday parties, and making an igloo out of egg cubes. She was so out there, I loved her individuality and her differentness even though she didn't feel different or special or unique. I sure thought she was.
Illustrations and drawings in the book.
This was probably my favorite part of the book because it made it easier to visualize each token Min kept in the box of stuff she was giving back to Ed. More importantly, it made Min's recollection of her short relationship with Ed a little more meaningful. It was a fun and cute way of giving the story something more.
Despite all my dislikeness for Min and Ed's relationship, these two gave me some serious whiplash. One second, I'm on a high from their cuteness together and the next thing I want to do is punch somebody in the face because, sheez, Ed was such an idiot. Then I'd go back to loving Ed because he does something sweet or caring or does something that doesn't make him the shallow, basketball player-player that he really is. Then I'm back to wanting to kick something in places that shall not be named, back to smiling like a fool because yes Ed, you are cute and I cannot deny it!
What I Didn't Like
I like you Min, but what the heck are you talking about?Read more ›
The main reason I didn't enjoy this novel is the narrator Min. Min is the whiniest, most annoying character I've read about in a long, long time. I wanted to shake her and scream at her to get over herself because she made such a big deal out of everything. I just couldn't take the melodrama.
Maybe it wasn't even Min as a character but more the nature of Min's and Ed's relationship. If their relationship had been really long and meaningful, maybe I could've gotten why Min is still so upset and whiny about the whole thing. But their relationship lasted just over a month, and it was obvious from the start that they would never work out. The real reason they broke up is withheld till the end, but I for one thought it was obvious from the start, and this reason made the whole book kind of pointless - it's not like Min needs to explain to Ed why they broke up, under the circumstances. And even before the break-up, their relationship was just so.. ugh. It's the typical jock-guy/artsy-girl storyline, and these stereotypes are really all there is to these characters. I didn't see any real connection between Min and Ed, they were just kind of together, and that was that. And that made all the descriptions of the mistakes Ed made as reasons why they broke up seem kind of ridiculous.
Another thing that bugged me were the constant movie references. Generally, I like when characters have quirks like that, and Min's obsession with old movies could have been fun. But it was just too much.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The overarching problem of this desperately quirky novel is that is can be summed up thusly: "you were an insanely narcissistic creep who treated me like dirt. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Gregory Baird
Le sigh....this is a tough one and I have a feeling I'll be mad about it for the rest of the day. I liked this book a lot and the story gave me all the feels. Read morePublished 14 days ago by A L Fraz
I love the idea of this book as a handwritten letter, and I really like Min. I don't like the way the book ended..I was hoping Ed would be "different" too. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MLoRu
This book was trite. It was like every teen movie from 1980 on. "artsy" girl meets "jock" boy. falls in love. Read morePublished 2 months ago by (ab)
The plot of the book Why We Broke Up is a build up told through memorabilia from the past relationship of the main character (Min) and her ex-lover (Ed). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wendy
It was ok. Every other sentence seemed to outline why they broke up. The ending seemed abrupt like I was blindsided and the book broke up with me and ended lol.Published 2 months ago by A. R.
Notes, random mementos, what do you do with it? Throw it out? I found my husband's box from his first love. Of. Course. I read it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sarah Bosworth
I really loved this. It is an absolutely wonderful read, especially for anyone who had their heartbroken in high school. Read morePublished 3 months ago by manduhpaigereads
This was a pretty good book. Not my favorite story but I loved the writing so much! I felt Min was very thoughtful, way more than me at the same age, and she felt a little distant... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Danielle DiMauro