Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Report #95 - Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Book 19 of 52
Page count - 368

I thought I'd give Handler a chance to speak to me under his own name.  So far I've only read his work under the Lemony Snicket moniker and I was curious to read something he put his own name on.

Interestingly it was teen fiction written from the point of view of a broken-hearted, misfit teen-age girl, who fell in love with the co-captain of the high school basketball team.

My problem with the book is - I am a middle aged man.

This was not targeted for me.  I'd recommend this book to any love-struck teen girl. (not a boy because, at that age, they tend not to read books)

I was not disappointed in Handler's ability to turn a phrase.  The book was interesting in that it was written in the form of a very, very, very long letter from Min (Short for Minerva) to Ed the jock in question.  The letter is put in a box full of mementos of their brief relationship where she picks each item up and explains what it meant to her.

It was a touching bit of work and I also like the illustrations that accompanied each item from the box.

I found the story a bit of a mess because it was written while Min was upset, sad and crying.  The sentences tended to run on and it followed her stream of consciousness.

I thought Handler's ability to portray the teen jock absolutely spot-on.  It's surprising the human race has survived considering just how thick teen boys can be.

I liked it but I also did not like it.  I found myself frustrated with both characters because I have the advantage of years of experience they simply do not have.  At times I found it tedious to slog through the emotional upheaval Min was going through.

So, Okay, the book was not for me but it was expertly written, beautifully illustrated and is truly something special.

If you're a teen fiction fan or want to relive your angst-filled youth you're going to love this book.

Daniel Handler


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