Why We Broke Up

18 Sep

This is why we broke up: you weren’t suited to the person I’d become. You made my stomach ache. My feelings for you came in flashes like lightening and I didn’t like the times between strikes.

Those are some of my own to add to Handler’s fine collection of descriptive musings on why two nearly typical American high school students, Min and Ed, broke up.  Break ups; the mother of all disappointments and the father of all pain and when it happens to you why (?!) is the adverb that takes over your life. Written as a letter of explanation, condemnation and sorrow to Ed, this story comes in segments, each segment is dictated by an object in some way significant to the story of their relationship. Each of these objects is pulled from a box and considered by Min (who has put them there) before she continues with her lovelorn objective of returning the entire sad array to Ed’s doorstep.

Somehow the stereotypical topic of a basketballer never being able to truly comprehend the love of an aspiring director set amongst the backdrop of pseudo hipster friends drinking coffee and shit-head basketball groupies, comes off as remarkable whilst still nostalgically tugging on the high school heart strings we all have loosely tucked somewhere.
A gallery of images accompany the miscellaneous contents of the box; the soft edged pastel quirks of Maira Kalman’s paintbrush (author and illustrator of Principles of Uncertainty and The Pursuit of Happiness) come over like you’re holding a very extensive catalogue for an artists show in your hands (watercolour on canvas…you know I want to be a director, but you could never truly see the movies in my head and that, Ed, is why we broke up $2700).

Handler’s most likely known to you as his synonym Lemony Snicket, the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, perhaps one of the funnier, darker and more eloquent children’s series yet written. So yes, this too is a book for young adults, or it will be classified as such because it deals with teen love and we all condescend to know that isn’t ‘real’ love except of course it is, when you’re going through it.  Don’t discard this title because it’s put in the ‘teen’ section – any teen who truly comprehends the scope of the confessions in this book is a special character indeed. And anyway, what do teens grow in to? Adults. This is a book for us all.

Note: If you wish to contribute to the collection of break up stories, check out this website http://whywebrokeupproject.tumblr.com/ where, if you’re lucky (unlucky?), Handler might just comment on your heartache.


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