July 19, 2012
Suffering and heartbreak
Why We Broke Up
by Daniel Handler
art by Maira Kalman
Ticket stubs, rubber bands, a toy truck, and a matchbox - these are some of the things Min is returning to Ed - packed in a box she is dumping on his doorstep. These are the mementoes of a failed relationship.
At 354 pages, the book is a long, long letter written by Min, who relates every feeling, event, and situation that led to her and Ed's break-up. Min's lengthy, stream-of-consciousness writing style is full of awkward run-in sentences that often lose meaning, forcing the reader to go back and read it again. This makes for difficult reading; many readers will be tempted to give up.
The book certainly manages to capture the devastation of heartbreak, but it could have been a lot shorter. The artwork is the best thing about the book; their meanings are much clearer than the words.
For those who delight in suffering, Handler and Kalman have a website: The Why We Broke Up Project.