Excerpt from Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2011, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2013, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"You're good at guessing," I said. "That's very close."

"Close?"

"OK, yes, that's it."

"OK, give me a sec to find my keys and I'll pick you up."

"They should be in your jacket, from last night."

"You're good too."

"Don't you want to know what the errand is?"

"You can tell me when I get there."

"I want to tell you now."

"It doesn't matter, Min," he said.

"Call me La Desperada," I said.

"What?"

"I'm giving back Ed's stuff." I said it after a deep breath,

and then I heard him take one, too.

"Finally."

"Yeah. My end of the deal, right?"

"When you're ready, yeah. So, you're ready?"

Another one, deeper but shakier. "Yes."

"Are you sad about it?"

"No."

"Min."

"OK, yes."

"OK, I have my keys. Five minutes."

"OK."

"OK?"

"It's just that I'm looking at the quote on the box. You know, Hawk Davies. You either have the feeling or you don't."

"Five minutes, Min."

"Al, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have even - "

"Min, it's OK."

"You don't have to. It's just that the box is so heavy I don't know - "

"It's OK, Min. And of course I have to."

"Why?"

He sighed through the phone and I kept staring at the top of the box. I'll miss seeing the quote when I open my closet, but I will not, Ed, I don't miss you. "Because, Min," Al said, "the keys were right in my jacket, where you said they'd be."

Al is a good, good person, Ed. It was Al's party where you and I first met, not that he invited you because he had no opinion of you then and so didn't invite you or any of your grunty jock crowd to his Bitter Sixteen party. I left school early to help him with the dandelion green pesto made with gorgonzola cheese instead of parmesan for extra bitterness that we served on top of the squid ink gnocchi from his dad's shop and mix up the blood orange vinaigrette for the fruit salad and cook up that huge 89 percent cacao dark chocolate cake in the shape of a big black heart so bitter we couldn't really eat it, but you just waltzed in uninvited with Trevor and Christian and all them to skulk in the corner and not touch anything except, like, nine bottles of Scarpia's Bitter Black Ale. I was a good guest, Ed, and you didn't even say "bitter birthday" to your host and give a present, and that is why we broke up.

Drawing of two beer capsThese are the caps from the bottles of Scarpia's Bitter Black Ale that you and I drank in Al's backyard that night. I can see the stars bright and prickly and our breathing steamy in the cold, you in your team jacket and me in that cardigan of Al's I always borrow at his house. He had it waiting, clean and folded, when I went upstairs with him to give him his present before the guests arrived.

"I told you I didn't want a present," Al said. "The party was enough I told you, without the obligatory - "

"It's not obligatory," I said, having used the same vocabulary flash cards with Al when we were freshmen. "I found something. It's perfect. Open it."

He took the bag from me, nervous.

"Come on, happy birthday."

"What is it?"

"Your heart's desire. I hope. Open it. You're driving me crazy."

Rustle rustle rip, and he sort of gasped. It was very satisfying.

"Where did you find this?"

"Does it not," I said, "I mean exactly, look like what the guy wears in the party scene in Una settimana straordinaria?"

He smiled into the slender box. It was a necktie, dark green with modern diamond shapes stitched into it in a line. It'd been in my sock drawer for months, waiting. "Take it out," I said. "Wear it tonight. Does it not, exactly?" "When he gets out of the Porcini XL10," he said, but he was looking at me.

Excerpted from Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. Copyright © 2011 by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  How to Keep a Commonplace Book

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!