Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) is one of the recent YA releases that I've been anticipating for some time. It's the story of Min and Ed. It's the story of a box full of random, worthless stuff. It's the story of a relationship that was, let's face it, doomed from the start.

The book is written from Min's point of view -- a letter written as she sits in a cafe, just before she takes the box of stuff and dumps it on Ed's porch. It's almost stream-of-consciousness in places, as Min explores the reasons why she loved Ed, and why (as per the title) they broke up. Min's not always likeable, but she's always real. Secondary characters are likewise well-rendered. Though it's realistic fiction, Handler has created a world of minutiae specific to the book, such as the names of old movies and movie stars that Min is always referencing, as well as brand names, restaurants, and other minor details. It's almost like visiting a foreign country, or perhaps just another region, where the big things are the same, but all of the little ones have that jarring note of other-ness. Min and Ed's story is similar: though the small details are specific to them, the big things will resonate with anyone who ever had their heart broken as a teenager.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system)

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