My Thoughts About Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Book Review #24)


And I decided to jump into the bandwagon and read this overly hyped book that I’ve been hearing everywhere.

I guess I just expected a lot from the book that it did not live up to my expectations.

The novel is about Min Green and Ed Slaterton. They are breaking up and Min is driving with his friend Al into Ed’s house with a box containing things that she collected over the course of their bittersweet relationship. Min stated that the box contains are the reason why they are breaking up. It contains things like two bottle caps, a movie ticket, notes, a match, protractor, cookbooks, a toy truck, a pair of earrings, a comb, dried rose petals and an empty packet of condom. Each item as they were one by one presented on the novel there were bits of back stories and flashbacks that were given.

From the beginning they were both from different worlds, Min being a normal low key girl and Ed being an athlete and a chic magnet. Min had hesitations at first but she eventually dated Ed and eventually fell in love with him. Then as their relationship grew deeper, Min was heed-over-heels with Ed, protecting him from her friends’ judgments.

The story just revolved around Min and Ed. The story lacks the depth that I was expecting from a book that has a good premise and potential. I was not able to get to know the characters more making me have less sympathy to them. They lack the strength. The story just focused on their love story that it got to the point that it became so annoying for me. I almost did not finish the book. I thought that something at the end will happen, a twist or something, because all throughout the book was flat and monotonous. But nothing happened. Adding to that, if the main characters were just “meeh” for me then it wouldn’t be a surprise if the supporting characters will be the same. But of all the secondary characters, I saw a great potential on Al’s character, Min’s best friend who later on confessed his love for Min but was turned down but later on after her break up with Ed she later on realized his importance in her life (maybe there would be a sequel and they ended up as lover or something). I believe that if the author would have used Al’s point of view and made Al as the main protagonist the story could have been better. The author could have used the title “Why They Broke Up”. And in the end Al and Min will end up with each other.

I had a hard time finishing this book. I struggled with the pacing. I thought at first that maybe because it’s just with how the novel was structured and I decided to push through. I can’t connect to it. I find it very confusing that sometimes I have to reread and reread every paragraph to get the point. I was like reading blocks and blocks of words and I am not deciphering anything.

The author also made the main protagonist (being a movie buff) made use of a lot, as in a lot, of movie references to the book. It added to my confusion on the book. It was like everything that’s happening in her life is being referenced to a particular scene of some non-existent movie that she watched. It was overly done that sometimes I have to stop reading and back read to see the connection of the movie that Min was discussing to the current scene where she’s at on the book. It could have been better if the movies were all true but they’re not.

And what added more to my confusion is how the author used run-on, never-ending sentences. I find myself drowned at time with the blocks and blocks of words that some do not make sense for me and I have to read and reread and reread to just grasp the thought. Narration also did not work for me. It is highly subjective first person/second person. I also had a hard time with the voice. I had issues tracking who was speaking and I have to backtrack many times to follow the flow of the story and realign myself to who talks what.

The only saving grace of the book for me is its appearance. I like how it has Instagram-worthy cover and illustrations and no one can deny it. The illustrations inside the book by Maria Kalman are all so striking and for me, it filled the gap that the book is lacking.


(Sample illustration grabbed from the web.)

After reading the book, I felt like what I read is just a girl’s diary ranting about why she and his boyfriend broke up. Nothing spectacular. Like what I said, the book has a lot of potential and what is just lacking is the execution and its confusing structure. But then again, I believe, it’s just a matter of taste. Some loved the book while some, like me, is on the other side.

Planning to read the book? Try reading the first 5-10 pages. If you enjoyed it, then proceed. But if not, better drop the book. That was my mistake, I did not enjoy the book on its first couple of pages but I still proceeded.

2 stars out of 5.

One thought on “My Thoughts About Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Book Review #24)

  1. I’ll have to read those first ten or so pages in the bookstore to decide whether or not I want to actually buy it. From your criticisms, however, I’m leaning more toward skipping this book. Great post, regardless.


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