Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why We Broke Up

I really wanted to like Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up. I mean, who wouldn’t like such a catchy title from no less than Lemony Snicket himself?

It’s no spoiler to write that Min, a would-be film director, and Ed, co-captain of the high school basketball team, broke up. In fact, the entire book (and it is one thick, heavy book) is Min’s account of their relationship and why they broke up.

I wanted to cheer for Min, but I actually found her pretentious and just plain annoying. She goes on and on, comparing every incident in their relationship to some obscure film. Frankly, I was bored with her narrative. Maybe if I was as artsy, or “different,” as Min, I’d find her charming, but her voice is just plain obnoxious.

As for Ed, I wish he’d been more than the stereotypical athlete. And, to be quite frank, the relationship and the break up simply did not ring authentic. Why would a jock be attracted to such a weirdo? And if he were attracted to someone because she was so different, why would he treat her so badly? It just didn’t make sense.

The book isn’t a complete failure. I felt sad and depressed most of the way through because I, like almost every other person in the universe, could relate to breaking up. The book did bring up memories of first love and sweet love and the tragedy of a dead romance, so I was left with a feeling of nostalgia and a general unease. Maybe some memories are just better left unremembered.

No comments: