Why We Broke up

Why We Broke up


Book - 2014 | Trade paperback edition.
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Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., [2014]
Edition: Trade paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781443401906
Branch Call Number: TEEN HAN
Characteristics: 354 pages :,color illustrations ;,21 cm
Additional Contributors: Kalman, Maira


From Library Staff

Every last memento is packed into a box to accompany Min's letter of explanation. Even a break-up that is clearly for the best can be painful. And funny. And beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman.

From the critics

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Jul 17, 2019

I re-read this book because I recently went to a Maira Kalman art exhibit and ordered all of her books from the library afterwards. Kalman illustrates this book. Her illustrations are minimalist and lovely. Daniel Handler's writing as a female junior in high school is pitch perfect and alternates between hilarious and sad. And the blurbs on the back of the book are worth a check out too.
Handler and Kalman have collaborated on several other books, including Girls Standing on Lawns and 13 Words, written by Handler under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket.

haklh Sep 26, 2018

4.5 stars.

I breathed a big sigh when I finally read the last sentence of this book, like I had been holding my breath all this time. (By finally I mean I had read back and forth within it a few times before finally reading all the way to the end. It's that kinda book - you want to know what happens yet you don't want it to stop.)

There's an earlier reviewer who said reading this book is like going through a breakup yourself. It's true. The first-person, stream of consciousness narrative draws you right in, feeding upon your own history of love-related pain. Many (small) details of the plot resonate with me - I particularly like the sudden, unexpected way that Min and Ed connected: the intense, bohemian girl (she hates the label "arty") and the handsome jock. They caught each other's eyes, even though neither expected it.

I like the structure of the novel - Min and Ed have broken up and, as her final defiant act of letting go, she is dumping a box, full of the mementoes of their weeks together, on his doorstep. On the way to his house, she is busy writing a long letter (ie the novel) explaining why they broke up. Each item in the box introduces part of the relationship and forms a "chapter". These items are announced by full-page illustrations by artist Maira Kalman. It's an elegant conceit that enriches Min's characterisation. I keep imagining a young Winona Ryder, all intense dark eyes and grave brow, a jumble of stubbornnes and vulnerability, as Min. (Perhaps it's my age but I can't imagine a more modern equivalent.)

It's a credit to Daniel Handler that there is surprising depth to Ed too. He's more than just a classic jock; he is good at maths, thoughtful and witty when it pleases him, and he seems genuinely attracted to Min's personality. Sentimental Me would like to think that Min allows him to be something beyond the jock stereotype, his "true self" perhaps. Alas he behaves like a jock because that's all he knows. This story is a great one for What Ifs - (again, being sentimental) I would like to think that, had the relationship happened when they were older, it might have worked out - stronger self-belief could have overcome the environmental forces that try to keep this odd-couple apart.

Overall, a raw, affecting read, with luscious descriptive language. I wish I knew of it earlier.

Mar 24, 2018

Interesting concept, poor execution, because the characters are not very compelling and the answer to the question posed by the title is just very obvious.

Aug 04, 2016

The best part of the book was the last 25 pages. Other than that, the book was good but not amazing.
Really cool concept especially with the illustrations.The actual plot, character development and writing style were just ok.

A satisfying relationship post-mortem that will surprise you with its emotional depth. The illustrations and general framing are very effective at taking you right back to that 'first love' feeling. I would have liked a more nuanced approach to sexuality (e.g. an actual gay character rather than just gayness being used as a point of debate), and for the narrative to push back a bit more against the harmful 'you're not like other girls' idea.

Jun 12, 2016

Interesting concept for a book. Was a quick and easy read, however I felt that there was limited character development, but it does a good job at touching on relationship issues of adolescent love.

CRRL_CraigG Jul 16, 2015

Min has just left a box on Ed's doorstep. The box contains the pieces of evidence of their brief relationship, as well as letters explaining each piece's importance.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/why_we_broke_up_handler

Apr 02, 2015

I honestly love this book. After breaking up with my boyfriend this book helped me get through it alot easier. I'm so happy that I found this book! All the characters in this book were so descriptive and relatable. I really enjoyed all the old reference sin this book!!
Overall 10/10

Sep 07, 2014

1 star because the only part I truly enjoyed in the book was during the last 10% where we found out the actual reason for the break up.

The writing style - I did not enjoy it. I went from being intrigued to being confused and bored to ultimately, being annoyed. Didn't help that I sometimes had trouble differentiating dialogues between the characters.

Moral of the story:

Girls: don't be like Min. I realize love gives you tunnel vision and makes you do stupid things but if you're having an emotional roller coaster every passing minute that you spend with your SO then honey, it's more than a case of just nerves. You need to sit down, take a good look inside yourself and trust your instincts.

Boys: don't be like Ed. Nobody likes a greedy boy. The world is more than just what is convenient for you and your needs.

Jul 28, 2014

I loved this book. The illustrations added something unique. I really felt for the characters and thought it was very well written.

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Jul 06, 2016

blue_panda_1871 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Mar 21, 2012

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Aug 08, 2012

I love this book. It's about a girl who broke up with her boyfriend. She expains their memories and the stories behind each object that she has in a box. She expains them in a letter & gives the letter & the box back to Ed, her ex. It's a really good book


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