Why We Broke Up // Daniel Handler

‘It’s different,’ you said. ‘You’ve made, Min, everything different for me.  Everything’s like coffee you made me try, better than I ever–or the places I didn’t even know were right on the street, you know?  I’m like this thing I saw when I was little, where a kid hears a noise under his bed and there’s a ladder there that’s never been there before, and he climbs down and, it’s for kids I know, but this song starts playing…’


Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Year of Publication: 2011
Awards: Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2012)

Why We Broke Up is a letter to quirky Min’s basketball star ex detailing their relationship and its aftermath through her eyes.

I was pretty thrilled to find this on the bargain shelf for $4.97 and I tried really hard to love it.  Unfortunately, Min is less of a believable female protagonist and more of a manic pixie dream girl contrived by an aging white dude who probably longed to meet someone like Min back in high school.  One could argue she defies the trope because she’s telling the story  or even because she argues against being “different” but her whole character makes me think of a really awesome social media account that leads followers into believing the account holder’s whole life is whimsical and magical when in reality most of their time is spent watching Law and Order in their underwear.  The feeling the chosen images give you were meticulously planned out, edited, and presented.

Many of the descriptions were so drawn out I became bored halfway through and forgot what was being described in the first place. (Maybe I was just sleepy?)  I get it, Min was in love and heartbroken and sorting through her feeeeeelings, but in parts it’s just too much.  Maybe I’m an old grump, jaded by dating too many Eds, and pushing away all the Als.  Maybe I found this book at the wrong time.  Perhaps it’s more appropriate at the end, or even during, some magical love affair.  I’m very much a proponent of reading books when it feels right and admittedly my timing was likely off on this one.




The illustrations are cute and the book itself is very visually pleasing.  In a way, I will admit, Why We Broke Up is kind of charming, character tropes and all.


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