Summary and book reviews of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman X
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up.

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. Ages 14+

Dear Ed,

In a sec you'll hear a thunk. At your front door, the one nobody uses. It'll rattle the hinges a bit when it lands, because it's so weighty and important, a little jangle along with the thunk, and Joan will look up from whatever she's cooking. She will look down in her saucepan, worried that if she goes to see what it is it'll boil over. I can see her frown in the reflection of the bubbly sauce or whatnot. But she'll go, she'll go and see. You won't, Ed. You wouldn't. You're upstairs probably, sweaty and alone. You should be taking a shower, but you're heartbroken on the bed, I hope, so it's your sister, Joan, who will open the door even though the thunk's for you. You won't even know or hear what's being dumped at your door. You won't even know why it even happened.

It's a beautiful day, sunny and whatnot. The sort of day when you think everything will be all right, etc. Not the right day for this, not for us, who went out when it rains, ...

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!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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?... The qualities that make it so hard to be a teenager are also the reasons why they are such ripe receptors for fiction; they're gravely serious, they understand true drama, and they experience emotions with crushing severity. If you start reading Why We Broke Up, and it feels too over-the-top for you, I urge you to pass it along to a 13- or 14-year-old girl. Her emotions are full to the brim, and aching for somewhere to go. A book seems like a nice safe place, no?   (Reviewed by Lucia Silva).

Full Review (585 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
The Lemony Snicket author (writing under his own name) convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love.

Booklist
Starred Review. A bittersweet diatribe of their break-up arranged around objects... all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs.

School Library Journal
I was excited about how much this book is not like the Lemony Snicket books. It's totally different, it's totally wonderful, and all I can say is Handler is a darn fine writer... [T]his is a beautifully designed book. The paper is a high quality gloss, like you'd see and feel in a picture book.

Library Media Connection
Sure to resonate with all young adults.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart.

Reader Reviews

w8heier

Only a few pages
I have only read a few pages in this book. More like about 60 pages and I love, Love, Love It. I cant stop reading it but I of course have to stop reading it for school. yay. This book has many wonderful pictures and so many descriptive words and...   Read More

Write your own review!

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

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.

Commonplace Book Freed of the aesthetic demands of a traditional scrapbook, or the literary expectations of a diary, the rules are yours to make and break. I was never good at keeping up with a diary, but I loved my ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Why We Broke Up, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Everything Inside
    Everything Inside
    by Edwidge Danticat
    Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American writer, and Haiti looms large as a presence in this ...
  • Book Jacket: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket: Marilou Is Everywhere
    Marilou Is Everywhere
    by Sarah Elaine Smith
    "The point is that at that moment in my life," writes the narrator of Sarah Elaine Smith's debut ...
  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins

    A tale of courage in the face of arrogance that remains eerily relevant on U.S. campuses today.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Today We Go Home
by Kelli Estes

Illuminating and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a light on the brave military women of the past and present.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Chase Darkness with Me

How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

S S A C A Big S

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.