Tuesday, 10 June 2014

#reviewsdaytuesday: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Illustrated by Maria Kalman)

(This post is an edited re-upload from my books only blog.)
This is a book that I’ve heard lots about, not only for the content but also for the aesthetics, so I really wanted to get it. I bought my edition off abebooks (admittedly for only a couple of pounds) but was a bit annoyed to discover just how sunbleached and ripped the dust-jacket was. The only description given on the website was that it was ex-library. Since then, I've purchased another couple of books from the website and each time found them a lot more drawn in a messy than advertised, and the delivery time felt exceptionally long compared with amazon, so I probably won't be using them again. But on to the review!
Written as a letter punctuated by drawings, this is the story of why Min and Ed broke up, from Min to Ed. Why We Broke Up is aesthetically beautiful. Each chapter is introduced with a bright colour picture of an object, and the chapter that follows is the story of that object, and how it connects to Min and Ed’s relationship, and, ultimately, why it caused them to break up.
What makes this story so wonderful is the reality of it. It meanders from tenderness and pain, sweetness and love, to bitterness and anger. The objects in it are exactly the kind of seemingly meaningless objects that would remind you so exactly of a person or a moment. The emotions are wild and just so high school, but also serious and true.
I really enjoyed this book. The only problem I had with it was timing. I read it immediately after The Lover’s Dictionary, which did a similar thing in a more grown-up way, so the comparison wasn’t exactly fair. Nevertheless, the character voice was perfect, and I gave it 4/5 stars.
Author: Handler, Daniel and Kalman, Maria (Illustrator)
Title: Why We Broke Up
No. Pages: 354
Genre: YA (there is a discussion of sex in this book)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publications Date: 2011
My Rating: 4/5

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