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chrisblocker

Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
Gather the Daughters: A Novel
Jennie Melamed

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up - Maira Kalman, Daniel Handler

Min loves obscure movies.
Ed likes showers.

That's the premise of Why We Broke Up.  Okay, so yeah there's a little more, like Min and Ed are dating.  And obviously they break up (thank you, Daniel Handler, for putting a spoiler right there in the title; if you'd written The Sixth Sense, I bet you would've called it

He Was Dead All Along

(show spoiler)

). And there's also Al and coffee, math and basketball, and cubed eggs.

The illustrations are nice and the book is a very easy read, but the thing I most liked about Why We Broke Up was its ability to stir feelings of empathy in myself. This is a very realistic high school dating situation and I couldn't help but feel as I did throughout much of high school, angry that yet another decent girl was falling for a moron. Few things bother me more than girls and women who sacrifice so much for guys who just crap all over them.

I enjoyed Handler's clever usage of old movies and obscure products but felt gypped part way through when I realized they were mostly fabricated—were any legitimate?  Handler is a witty man, but when you strip away the reality of the genius behind these references, the whole scheme falls apart. There's not enough left to hold it together. Min is interesting, but she's equally annoying and unbelievable. Al is believable, but there wasn't enough of him. And Ed—Ed likes showers. The language is fun at times and other times a chore. Overall, Why We Broke Up is a middle of the road kind of book. But it has pictures.  And every breathing American will tell you that pictures alone make a book ten times better.