Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
There aren't many books that I have to hear a lot of positive stuff about before I go and buy it, but for some reason Why WE Broke Up was one of these books. For a book, it's pretty old, but don't let that steer you away from the fact that it's actually incredible. Kind of.
One morning, a box marked 'FRAGILE' turns up at Ed Slaterton's door. It's from Minerva, or Min, his ex-girlfriend. He opens it up and inside are several different items, like tickets, or bottle caps, or fragments of posters. Each one, Min's attached to an anecdote of their relationship, and as Ed goes through the items, he soon learns the truth of Why They Broke Up.
This is one of the only YA novels I've ever seen that have been illustrated to such a high standard. Maira Kalman deserves way more credit than she's getting for the illustrations, because they're incredible. Not just because of the nature of this book and it's plot, but they also play an essential part of the book as well.
I also really love the fact that this book is told in a series of anecdotes. It's a clever book, in the sense that it's really a collection of a few encounters between two characters, but all of the anecdotes fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Each one of them is told in Daniel Handler's unique style of writing and honestly, it's kind of beautiful.
However, to me and I many other people will agree with me too: I found this story to be kind of confusing in places. The use of the anecdotes really confused me in places, and after a while you may start to get a bit disinterested by them. Towards the end of the book, I definitely became disinterested in them, and even though it's part of the story, you may dislike a few more than the others. Kind of makes sure you don't hate the book overall really.
In addition, some of them I felt like the story would have been completely and totally unaffected if they just weren't there.
Some of them just didn't make sense to me.
So when I picked up this book (or rather, got it put through my door), I guess I was expecting something slightly different to what I inevitably ended up getting.
Sorry Daniel, the book just didn't cut it for me.