Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

11/09/2015 04:43:00 AM

Forgive me for the lack of posts on this blog. My day job is currently under crunch-time now so all efforts are channeled there for now. Though I did feel like I needed a breather from anything work-related recently so I've been reading books to escape from possible stress. Oh the magic of books!

I remember back in 4th grade, we'd be assigned certain books to make a book review about. And back then, though I liked reading (note, like, not yet love), I never really liked the books that our English teachers were making us read. With one exception in 7th grade, I never really liked any of the books I had to do book reports about. Unfortunately, we never really had the freedom to choose what book we'd want to make a report on. Understandably, of course, it's because the teacher needed to have read and understood the book that we have to write a report about, enough to have a specific breakdown of possible analyses that could be written about by the students (and a set of cheat sheets on English stuff expected to be included as well: Character, Plot, Conflict, Themes, etc). I did wish that we still could have picked out a book we wanted to write about at least once in our academic lives back then.

Fast-forward to now, my liking for books has evolved to an inevitable love, especially being influenced by tons of my friends who equally share that same love for reading. We grew up frolicking along the ailes of bookstores in the metro, normally bonding over them over a cup of tea or coffee. The smell of old books has got to be one of our favorite scents, tbh, lol.

Books used to be a huge part of my life growing up. There were a few Christmases where I asked my entire family and Santa Clause for books and nothing but. While my cousins opened their presents filled with clothes, toys and gadgets, I was happily (though struggling slightly) lugging my books around my grandparents' house in my own little world. It was (and still is) my favorite form of escape. I love the feeling of  holding an actual book in my hands and feeling the pages on my fingers as I turn to the next page. I never liked reading through a tablet or an e-book at all. It hurts my eyes too much and I just end up getting a migraine. Sticking a bookmark (making some personalized ones back in the day were a favorable pastime as well) in between pages and going back to them instead of scrolling through a tablet or a phone is what I prefer. The feeling is totally different. And kids these days should still be able to know how that feels too (instead of always holding on to a smart phone)!

So I figured, why not do a book review section on my blog? Of course it won't be as detailed as other people who totally do this for a passion. I for one would just like to share some of the stuff I get to read during my spare time. Though I might not be able to update this as often as I'd love to, I still want to start this to be able to share (and hopefully look back on it later on) what I thought of some books I've read (or re-read). I'll start with this one I recently just finished.

by Daniel Handler

I know it's been a while since this was published, but as much as I love reading actual books, I wouldn't want to pay so much for buying one when it's not even considerably supposed to be that expensive (and books here in the Philippines have gotten way more expensive than it used to be). But when I saw that (oddly) the hardbound version of this was cheaper than the paperback copy, I bought the hardbound piece then and there, no questions asked.

Published in 2011, Daniel Handler was able to write wonderfully about how bitter-sweet and raw first love usually is. This is totally far from his famous, books-turned-movie masterpiece, A Series of Unfortunate Events written under the name Lemony Snicket.

The story revolved around a high school girl named Min Green, who fell in love with the school's famous co-captain of the basketball team, Ed Slaterton, as Min retells their love story by giving back all the momentos she collected during their relationship through a very long letter. Now I wouldn't want to give any spoilers for those who would want to read the story themselves. But I will say that Handler was able to make me feel every detail the main protagonist was going through while I was reading the book. All the ups, the downs, the turn-arounds, everything. It's a different way to tell a love story, but it's definitely creative.

Speaking of creative. Each momento Min kept was illustrated wonderfully by Maira Kalman. The art style partnered very well with the way Handler wrote the story, very genuine, not intimidating, very personal. Everything felt like I was just really reading a friend's letter.

If I were to dissect the way the characters acted, I'd say a lot of people can relate a lot with how Min as a character was. When you know nothing about love, and you think that what you feel for a certain person in high school is actual love, chances are you're totally wrong. But most of the time, you make a lot of mistakes while you're young, and that's totally fine. That's how you learn. You get up and you move on. Ed as a character is very selfish and disrespectful. He's also very much like any teenage boy would be (if that says enough about him). He's a popular kid, wanted by every girl in school, so obviously (naturally) Min would end up falling for him as well. The two main characters are indeed a common way of depicting the innocence of young love, and Handler was able to successfully give life to those two teenagers without including too much unrealistic, unwanted drama as how other novelists would have made their characters go through.

All in all, I'd say it was a good book to read. I'd give it a 4/5.

Would I read it again? Yes I would. Would I recommend it to my friends? Yes I would.

If you've read this book as well, I'd love to hear what you think! I'm also on the hunt for a new book to read. So if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

  (.   .)o

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Thank you for reading! Your comments are greatly encouraged. I always love reading what you guys think. Please and thank you! :D