Saturday 25 February 2012

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman (hardie Grant EGMONT)
PB RRP $24.95
ISBN 978-1-174297097-4
Reviewed by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang  

Why We Broke Up is a teenage novel written at the point of ‘recovery’ from a break up. The story portrays a rather obsessive teen girl, Min and her relationship with the high school jock, Ed. She has collected a multitude of items from their six-week relationship. Min seems to recognise that the relationship is unlikely to succeed but commits herself wholeheartedly in a world of fantasy and hope.

In this book we go through each item of her “Ed box”. She writes one chapter per item to Ed reminding him of the object and the event, what she had hoped for at the time and why they broke up. She has an obsession with movies so most scenes that are replayed or that she describes are related to a range of movie scenes and actors. She enjoys making long lists and long statements.

Min is a likeable character with a strong voice. We follow her on her fantasies – like tailing an 80-year-old woman to her home because she believes she is an aged movie star. We feel for her awkward school and sports moments – becoming a basketball girlfriend and not fitting in. We relate to her desire and heartbreak as she losses her virginity and then her man. On the positive side, she comes full circle into accepting herself and her true friends.

The story is written by Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket and includes a piece of artwork at every chapter. The artwork is by Maira Kalman and is full colour and quirky – just like the main character Min. The art is a lovely addition throughout adds a tangible feel to the story.

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