Why We Broke Up. Wow, this book is heavy. I don’t mean in terms of subject matter, I mean the book itself is literally weighty. I picked it up, and I was caught off guard by its weight. I found out why when I opened it – thick and glossy paper, the kind you just want to run your hands over. This book was expensive to produce and I took a moment to hold it in my hands and appreciate that.
The illustrations by Maira Kalman blew me away. They are colorful and eye-catching and absolutely exquisite. Each one documents an item that is in the box of mementos of their relationship that Min leaves on Ed’s doorstep. I found myself looking forward to turning the pages to see what the next item was and how it would be drawn. A few of them literally took my breath away.
Now, on to the story. This guy can write. Imagine my surprise when I read author Daniel Handler’s bio and discovered that he is the famous Lemony Snicket, creator of the wildly popular Series of Unfortunate Events! This is definitely a departure for him, but the sharp intellectual wit he is known for shines through in his main character, Min. This book is beautifully written. It tells a story that everyone can relate to in one way or another – either the excitement of falling in love, the determination to make a relationship work when two people are wildly different, or the devastation of a break up.
This story goes backwards. In the beginning you know that Min and Ed have broken up, but you don’t know how they got together in the first place or anything about how their relationship evolved or ended. I loved the progression, using the objects in the box to tell their story, and I loved Min. She is smart and outspoken and sassy and unique.
This one is a keeper. I don’t’ think it could possibly be fully appreciated on an e-reader. This is one of those books that is a tactile experience and one that is not soon forgotten. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and fans will thoroughly enjoy going to the website, www.whywebrokeupproject.com to either tell their own story, read those others have shared, or learn more about the author and illustrator.
Check back next week for Teacher Tuesday–we’ve got a new list for you!