Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Told in the form of a letter from Min to now ex-boyfriend, Ed, Handler’s novel is an explanation: why they broke up. Min begins the letter by telling Ed that she is dropping off a box of things pertaining to their relationship, along with the letter, and explains why each item is in the box. Kalman adds striking visuals to the story, as each item Min details is accompanied by an illustration, resulting in a visual, linear journey through the pair’s doomed love.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I would like this book. I was worried it would be a weepy, “I can’t believe it’s over” story — it wasn’t! Well, it kind of was. But it was actually a really great read. I love that the whole novel is Min’s letter to Ed. And I love that you know before you read the book that they broke up, so there’s no surprise there. Also, the inclusion of the illustrations was awesome! There’s a picture of each item Min talks about, giving the book a scrapbook-like feel; a sad scrapbook.

The book may be about a break-up, and it is sad in places, but Min does not come across as a weepy, hopeless girl. I really appreciated how strong she was. In fact, if you’ve just experienced a break-up, this might be a good read for you. You’ll be able to relate to Min’s feelings, and you can hate on Ed and pretend he’s your ex. Most characters in the novel are smart and funny, and Min’s humor adds a lot to her letter. Not a lot of novels out there include so many pictures, so pick this one up!

Also, there is a Why We Broke Up tumblr where people share their break up stories. It’s called the “Why We Broke Up Project”, and you can find it here.

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.


One thought on “Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

  1. I felt the same way in the beginning–wasn’t sure if I’d like the book, but I was pleasantly surprised. 🙂

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