Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler

Min and Ed were an unlikely couple, as he is a jock and she is, well, artsy.  But when they got together, the passion burned with the fire of a thousands suns, as teenagers are wont to do.  And when they broke up, it had to be equally passionate.  So Min is writing Ed a letter, and removing all traces of him from her life.  She is telling him exactly why they broke up.

At first, as I was reading this, I thought the character of Min was unlikely to represent the normal teenage girl.  She is highly intelligent, more than many adults, she like foreign films and is highly ironic.  But what makes her like  almost every other teenage girl in the world is her propensity for drama.  One need only to read a few teenage twitter streams to realize everything, absolutely everything, in the teen world is highly dramatic.  From a literary standpoint, this may not be the most well written book, but in terms of it representing how a teenager would react and write, it was actually pretty spot on.  I also enjoyed the illustrations, which in and of themselves are full of emotion, yet very simple.

Min is a highly emotional character, and I have seen at least one reviewer refer to her as hormonal.  Why must passion and emotion in a female character be classified as a result of hormones?  Perhaps she is merely and artistic teenager.  While not as dramatic as Min, I was an emotional kid, and I hated the fact that people assumed it was my hormones.  As if this is the only reason women of any age are allowed to have actual feelings.

I loved hearing Ed and Min's love story, even within the framework of a highly emotionally charged break up letter.  I think the book will appeal to many young adult readers, because this clearly relates to their lives, and the microcosms in which they reside.

I received this review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.

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