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Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman No matter how in love you may be, if you’re honest with yourself, you know the chances of “happily ever after” are slim. Once those shining moments of love have passed, it’s easy to revisit those memories and catch the signs of impending doom. Of course you’ll also never forget the feelings that made you overlook those signs. In Why We Broke Up, film enthusiast Min (“short for Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom”) writes an epic Dear John letter to her ex Ed Slatterton (co-captain of the basketball team) about what was right, but ultimately what was wrong.Accompanying the letter is a box filled with the minutiae of their relationship. The little things that mean nothing to those except the two involved: bottle caps, a lone movie ticket, a toy truck, and more. In her letter Min names the items and describes the associated memories and emotions, and how each relates to “why we broke up” (and sometimes, why they stayed together).Daniel Handler does a masterful job writing this book. While the material is very different from the works of his pseudonymous Lemon Snicket, his signature command of language and turns of phrase are still very evident. Min has a believable voice as she describes the ups and downs of her first love. The art of Maira Kalman adds the final touch; her beautiful illustrations of the items in Min’s collection really pull together the book, creating a polished and interesting finished piece.Why We Broke Up is a novel for older/mature YA readers. Younger teenagers may enjoy parts of the story, but older teenagers and adults will probably have a better appreciation for the emotional complications of love. Parents may also take language and content to task if they catch a younger teen reading the book.