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wesleylau

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman Review Summary: Slow to start and difficult to get into with a plot that was not atypical, but gripping once I got into it. A thematically strong, thoroughly developed capsule of time and an awesome physical product (illustrations, colours, paper, weight). Understandably, not for everyone.

It took me 70 pages to get into the book. I didn't like the run-on sentences that were supposed to read like streams of consciousness. They read as unnatural and contrived. Also, the main character (named Min) inserts her boyfriend's name awkwardly in the middle of many sentences. And she's a huge film buff so she draws parallels between her life and movies, none of which I've ever heard of before so the comparisons were lost on me. These things didn't really change as I finished the rest of the book, but I eventually didn't notice them as much.

The book's charm was the redeeming factor for me. The innocent way the characters fall quickly and deeply in love, and the realistic relationship the author has crafted. The book goes through the keepsakes Min has kept throughout the relationship that are associated with memories. The items and their stories came across as highly believable for me; not cheesy if you look past the idea that keeping these mementos is a cheesy act in itself.

The conclusion was not what I would have wanted and the way things unravel - or the simple explanation to the book's title - was also sudden, but it wasn't so bad or a big enough part of the story that it changed my opinion about the book as a whole.

While the book was definitely hard to get into and there were flaws that took some overlooking (as mentioned before), I was successfully brought into the characters' world and enjoyed the author's unique approach and perspective.