Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Art by Maira Kalman
Little, Brown and Company, 2011
338 pages
YA; Contemporary
3.5/5 stars

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

While the cool concept of this book may have caught the eye of some, I was drawn by Daniel Handler. As you may or may not know, his pseudonym is Lemony Snicket and he is thus author of the beguiling Series of Unfortunate Events. I loved the first couple of books but still haven't got around to books 12 or 13 as the fun ran out.  A similar event happened here.

The concept is that Min is writing to her ex-boyfriend Ed, telling him why they broke up while detailing the objects and events of their relationship.  My first flag was that their relationship lasted from October 5-November 12, just over a month. Is a relationship of that length really worth a book-long screed? Especially a relationship of high-schoolers who are ostensibly restricted by school, extracurriculars, and parental guidance.

But I was swept away by Min's charming narration. Ed and his gang of athletes think of Min as different and compared to them, she is. She's whimsical, passionate about movies, and she seems like her own person. While the basketball players (and their girlfriends) are just like the all-too-typical depictions of popular kids, Min stands apart with her witty quips and her unusual object associations.  She viewed the world differently.

I assume that is also part of the reason why she meticulously detailed the history of their relationship through the rather large collection of items she amassed during their short relationship. Alas as the possessor of an ARC, the artwork was not fully complete. That will be a reason to pick up the finished copy as I look forward to seeing what is only hinted at by the words.  The words that do go on and on and on; frequent run-on sentences and a chatty tone originally charmed me but by the end, I was ready to break up with the book itself.

Overall: Ended up being too much: in style and length.

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