Thursday, 30 August 2012

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is the story of Min Green and Ed Slaterton. Well, actually, it’s the story of Min Green and her six week relationship with Ed Slaterton, beginning to end, including, of course, why they broke up. Min collected all sorts of bits and bobs while they were together - beer caps from the first night they met, a toy truck Ed found at a party and gave to her, a note he slipped into her locker - but now it is time to let them go, to give them back. She’s going to thunk them down on his front step in a box with a quote from her favourite song written on the lid: “You either have the feeling or you don’t.” And she is writing him a letter to go with it.

Why We Broke Up is Min’s letter to Ed, each chapter brought to focus around one of the objects in the box. How it came to be, the memory she associates with it, what happened around it, with it or to it, why it is important. Its a story of first love and, ultimately, first heartbreak. Its a story of trying to beat the odds, of being yourself and how, in the end, Ed, too, was himself. It’s brave and daring and familiar and new, and heartbreaking and uplifting and scary and sad all at the same time. It’s intelligent and thoughtful, and there’s very good reason why its being billed as a “John Green if you like, you’ll love” book. Why We Broke Up is overflowing with all the great qualities that John Green brings to his writing, but it’s different too. It’s as good as John Green, but not a John Green copy. It’s an ode to relationships and to boys and to love and to being yourself. It’s complete and cathartic. I loved it.

And there’s not much more that I can add to that, except by telling you to visit the Why We Broke Up Project. Post your break up story, and read those of others. Oh and, by the way, Daniel Handler is also known as Lemony Snicket. How cool is that?

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