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

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