Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why We Broke Up

So I read the majority of this book on Valentine's Day, which is a bit ironic since it's a novel about all the reasons a girl and a boy's relationship didn't work. Not that that mattered much to me, since Valentine's Day is kind of a silly holiday in my opinion. Yes, I might change my mind when someday I actually have a valentine, but something tells me I most likely won't. For one, my birthday is so close to Valentine's Day (the day after) that I feel that Valentine's Day kind of overshadows it, not to mention it's really annoying when I want to go out to eat for my birthday and the restaurants are packed because of Valentine's Day. Second, while it's nice to have a day to show someone you love that you appreciate him/her, shouldn't this be something that is done more than one day a year? I don't know, it all seems silly to me. Not that I judge those who enjoy Valentine's Day, I say more power to you. It's just not my cup of tea.

Well after that rant, I guess you're probably wondering what Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler is about. It's told in letter form, it's a letter that Min is writing to her ex-boyfriend, Ed, explaining the reasons that they broke up. She has this box of stuff from their relationship, and she gives an explanation of each of the objects and relates it to why they broke up. Each object is represented in the novel with an illustration, and the illustrations are beautiful, as beautiful as the writing itself. Min and Ed have a relationship that everyone can relate to, I think. And that is why this book is such a good read.

So Why We Broke Up was actually a Printz honor book this year, I guess I'm just on a roll reading those. I can see why it won this honor. Daniel Handler (who, if you didn't know, is also known as Lemony Snicket) wrote a beautifully realistic story that anyone, especially girls since it's told from Min's point of view, can relate to. The fact that it's written in a letter and it really seems like a letter that a girl would write to a boy that broke her heart. Maybe I just felt that it was so realistic because I felt like it was something that I would do. Writing is kind of like a therapy to me, and I could see myself writing a letter to some boy someday, explaining things. Maybe that isn't true for most people, but it's why I really liked this book. It felt so relatable to me. But everyone who reads it probably brings all their own stories of heart break, their own stories of their own relationships, so it means something different to everyone who reads it. Which I guess is true for every single book that is read. But I think it's especially true for this one.

I want to take a minute and talk about the illustrations in this book. They're all paintings, and they're all beautifully done. I really think they add to the story, because you'd see the picture of the object and wonder what meaning this could have had to the relationship, and then it's usually not what you were expecting. Maria Kalman, the illustrator, did an absolutely wonderful job.

What am I reading next? Money Boy by Paul Yee, which is actually another Printz honor book. Eventually, I will read them all. Until next time, happy reading!

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