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BOOKS // 'Why We Broke Up' by Daniel Handler & Maria Kalman*

Ever been through a rough break up? This book may be for you. Why We Broke Up, by author Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maria Kalman, is a book that I have wanted to read for years because of it's unusual format of being a short book full of illustration. It's a book of teenage heartbreak and tells the story of Min and Ed - two high school students who are in the middle of breaking up.

The book is narrated by Min who writes a long letter to Ed on all the reasons why they are breaking up along with a box of memories she had collated over their relationship.

I was delighted to find that this book was available on Blloon app and was intrigued to see how a book that relies so heavily on it's illustrated counterpart would work on a tablet device. Well, I was a bit disappointed in that aspect. When  I have picked up the book in bookshops, I've flicked through pages of beautiful artwork and intricate drawings that are kinda important to the plot however these just don't look as striking in their digital form. This is no fault of the Blloon app, or the book itself, it is just a book that really lends itself well to being owned in a physical copy so you can look through the artwork at your own leisure.

The book itself was an odd one for me. I was looking forward to reading it as I love Daniel Handler (I did my dissertation on his children's books A Series of Unfortunate Events) but there was something just not quite right about it. 

I loved the character of Min. I think she was quite relatable as the awkward, 'arty' girl (as she's called) and she has a likeable personality. Ed, on the other hand, is an absolute idiot who I hated from the word go and I have no idea how on earth Min could fall for someone so annoying and arrogant as him. I guess that kinda happens in real life though - there are always those first relationship regrets eh?! My favourite character was Al, Mins' bets friend, he was so sassy and honest. I think he'd be my friend in real life.

I felt like the plot itself was Ok. I really felt the heartache both characters were going through and I loved how the pictures of the items she was returning really added another dimension to the story - it was almost like you were being handed back the items yourself as they were so unusual and detailed. Parts of the book I could not get in to, including one of Min's loves for old films which Handler goes on about in great detail which sucks if you don't know anything about old films (not even classic ones I could recognise). It took me ages to trawl through these parts as it was just like reading huge lists of stuff I couldn't understand. This happened a few times in the book too which I hated. In A Series Of Unfortunate Event's, for example, Handler does make page long lists of things but it's done in an ironic and comical way. Why We Broke Up literally lists the things Min does in her daily life and, quite frankly, it's boring.

Despite this, I did want to keep reading. Handler has really captured what it is like to go through a first love and I love the little details that describe the quirks of their relationship. And, despite it not being the most fantastic book I've read, I would suggest picking up a copy even if it is just to marvel at the beautiful art work done by Maria Kalman.

This book is available now on the wonderful Blloon app (you can read my love for this app here).

*I read this book on Blloon app, who kindly gave me a free subscription to their service. All opinions are my own.

2 comments

  1. this book sounds quite good! need a couple of more books to read so will totally check this out! xxx

    Anisha ♥ All You Need Is Red Lipstick

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  2. I'd not heard of this app before now, I'm going to take a look.

    PhotoJennic 

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