Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler is a young adult fiction novel about a high school romance. Two teens from very different social groups meet and fall in love…or so it seems. The main character narrating the story is Min, short for Minerva, who loves movies, drinking coffee, going to the theatre in town that shows old movies and hanging with her best friend Al. She tells the story of her relationship with basketball co-captain, Ed Slaterton in the form of a break-up letter she is writing to give to him along with a box of items they’d accumulated during their relationship.
She walks him through what each item in the box is and the memory associated with it; sometimes she would tell him something that she had not told him before, such as a conversation she had with his sister, Joan, while he was out of the room. Min and Ed (but mostly Min) are planning a birthday party for an actress that Min loves. The letter takes us through their moments spending time at school and at Ed’s basketball games, some of the moments they share at school events and the adventures Min and Ed have in order to find all of the things necessary for the party. She takes us through her arguments, challenges and realizations. At the end, it becomes clear why they broke up.
At first, I thought Min chose some fairly trivial reasons to break up with Ed so I was skeptical of her because she seemed superficial. The more I read though, the more I thought the reasons she broke up with him were much deeper than the reasons mentioned in the beginning. Then I began to think that she broke up with him because her mother didn’t approve or because it was difficult for them since they have few common interests. The book builds to the end; gradually things get more tense between Min and Ed – it seems they are drifting apart and trying harder to stay together. By the end of the book, it is abundantly clear why Min broke up with Ed and I commend her for doing so. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book and thought I would have a hard time finishing it, but as the book progressed, it got better. Overall, I like it and would recommend it to someone who is looking for a quick, young adult fiction book with some romance spackled in to read at their leisure. I requested this book through the Interlibrary Loan Program or Affiliated Libraries Loan/Borrow Program at my local library. If you end up liking the book as much as (or more than) I did, then you can buy it on Amazon for $10.31 (paperback) or at Barnes & Noble for $10.31 (paperback).