Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler, of Lemony Snicket fame, wrote this book. And wrote it well. So well that it just won a 2012 Printz Award honor.
Min and Ed broke up. Now Min is delivering to him a box full of the paraphernalia of their relationship. Mementos, ticket stubs, etc. All of the things that we keep when we’re infatuated. And she’s delivering them to Ed with a letter, explaining why, precisely, they broke up. In the process, she relates their entire story. Starting with a description of their first encounter. Here’s part of it:
–and then you asked me my name. I told you it was Min, short for Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, because my dad was getting his master’s when I was born, and that, don’t even ask, no you couldn’t, only my grandmother could call me Minnie because, she told me and I imitated her voice, she loved me the best of anyone.
You said your name was Ed. Like I might not know that. (18)
When I picked this up off of the library shelf, I was surprised by how heavy it was. It’s heavy because half of the book is illustrations by Maira Kalman. And they are woven so well into the story that I couldn’t help but love them. WWBU is also replete with references to old movies and actors – all of which Handler made up. Let’s see. Nothing groundbreaking about the plot; it’s the story of a couple meeting and parting ways. So, it’s cliche in the way every relationship is cliche but unique in the way every relationship is unique. And the characters felt real. I liked Min and her group of friends, especially Al. And Joan. And sometimes even Ed.
I can see why this one won a Printz honor. Mostly, I suspect for the clever formatting and illustrations. But also, for the writing and the characters.
Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler [rating:4]
Have you read or reviewed this book too? Feel free to jump in with your thoughts or leave a link to your review in the comments.