Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, now I see the reason for the hype, and I'm a little wistful thinking how I put off reading it for so long. I thought this book would just be another one about a teenage relationship with a head-over-heels heartbroken girl and a dashing-somewhat-emotionally-shallow boy, and it is about a teenage relationship with a head-over-heels heartbroken girl and a dashing-somewhat-emotionally-shallow boy, but it's so smooth that it makes me feel as if I'm living my own silly teenage relationships over again. The good parts are focused on, but the bad parts not skipped over either. I feel like I'm back in high school with the rosy memories of it and a few of the blunt realities thrown in to keep it real.
And that is what I liked about it. What I liked less was how often Min referenced movies (I kind of got bored with that after a while) and the somewhat contrived feel of her character. Her narration got a little jagged in some parts. The cutesy-ness of Min & Ed's relationship really bugged me sometimes, kind of like their characters did (note: some content). But really, that wasn't the best part of the book for me.
But this is what was, and this is why you should read it: the narrative style was fabulous. Daniel Handler is just a fabulous writer. The way he makes you feel the emotion of a place or of a situation is powerful . . . the images he uses to create that are powerful and will make you feel like you really are back in high school or remembering like a slap in the face what a breakup was like. You know it's good when the writer can make you feel so raw and nostalgic and everything else. Bravo.