I loved this book. If I'd read this book when I was 14, I would have written that with capital letters and exclamation points, the page soggy with tears. Remember when you could read a book and feel like it was written just for you? That the author was writing about your own private world, your singular thoughts, the startlingly originality of you and your friends? The feeling is absolutely thrilling, but it fades as we grow older and (hopefully) less self-centered, and realize that emotions are universal and uniqueness is dime-a-dozen. I treasure Why We Broke Up
for reminding me of those teenage feelings, of the crushes and romances, the delights and disastrous mistakes that shaped my young self. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have read this book then - what a rare gift a book like this can be to the raw emotional life of a young teenage girl.
Beyond the Book
Min's narrative-through-objects reminded me of a "commonplace book" I kept in high school at the urging of my (wonderful) 10th grade English teacher. Commonplace books became very popular during the Renaissance, used as a kind of intellectual filing system, whereby one collected poems, proverbs, quotes, and other material around a particular subject or theme.* Over time, the idea expanded to encompass a more modern combination of a scrapbook and a diary filled with sketches, photographs, articles, mementos, even mathematical equations.
Freed of the aesthetic demands of a traditional...