I love like a fool, like a Z-grade off-brand romantic comedy…
I really wanted to love Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman. Really. For one thing, the book itself is gorgeous. The artwork is amazing, and the pages are nice and weighted. For another, I love the idea of stories told through mementos (see Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall) because the significance of each object or the chosen objects tend to be so, well, random. Finally, a story of relationship headed to a break-up and having that fact acknowledged up front works for me–especially because the finality of the title means no third act turnaround.
Also, I really, really love Ed. I know part of the point of the book is his charm and his adorableness, so that we see why Min fell for him. But that same charm and cuteness made me really upset at how predictable and cliché their break up was. I mean, I was super disappointed in why they broke up. And, yes, the reason was forecast way, way back in the beginning. But I kept holding out hope that maybe–just maybe–they broke up for another reason. Alas.
That said, I did like that the objects were so random and their significance wasn’t quite so predictable. I loved Ed (obviously). I enjoyed watching Min and Ed’s relationship develop. One of the conflicts in their relationship is that their friend groups are entirely different. Ed is co-captain of the basketball team, and Min hangs out on the fringes with her decidedly not as popular friends. So I liked seeing how they navigated both groups.
As I said, though, the reason for the break up was disappointing. The fact that Ed was not, in fact, Nathan Scott, but a typical boneheaded jock hurt my heart.
I would also put the book down and forget to pick it back up, so even though I enjoyed it fine while reading, I never felt that compelled to go back to it.
And, OH MY GOD, I hated the ending so so so so much. Just…it was the worst. Okay, maybe not the worst. I mean, nobody DIED. But it was pretty terrible.
And that is why I could not love this book.