Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

So Carrie has set up a calendar for the three of us.  It sends us reminders that it's our turn to post.  It was incredibly thoughtful of her to do so.  Of course I'm her sister, so I know it's really just her way of being bossy by proxy.  My point is that I got my reminder that I was to post on Monday.  Then Monday came and went with post-Easter sugar coma and getting back to the routine and other family issues.  Then Tuesday came with a malevolent, post-eating Blogger and then a mysterious lack of internet connectivity.  So, despite Carrie's best intentions, I am two days late posting.  My original post was on A Team of Rivals.  It's a great book about Lincoln's Cabinet members.  I'm fairly certain my review was great as well, but it is floating somewhere in the interwebs trash ring.  I will re-write a review for it next week.  But for now, here's my review that I did over on BeTween Books.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you should.  Really.

Why We Broke Up
If it's been awhile since you were in high school, prepare yourself.  This book is written from the perspective of a sixteen year-old girl.  A sixteen year-old dramatic girl.  A sixteen year-old dramatic girl that has been rather unceremoniously dumped.  Well sort of.....anyway, expect to spend a couple of pages thinking "Wow.  She is self-absorbed and needs to ratchet it back a bit."  Also, "This is not going to win any Grammarian Prizes due to the proliferation of sentence fragments and run-on sentences." (One could say that about this review as well, I suppose, but then you're being awful picky aren't you?)  And then try to remember that she's a sixteen year old girl.   A sixteen year-old dramatic girl.  A sixteen year-old dramatic girl that has been rather unceremoniously dumped.

I ended up liking this book quite a bit, but our relationship was pretty tenuous at the beginning.  Like I said, sixteen year-old and whatnot.  This book is a letter that Min (short for Minerva) writes to Ed after their relationship has dissolved.  Min is a theater kind of girl; not Drama Club, but film buff.  Ed is the high school basketball star.  Ed is a year older and about twenty high school relationships wiser than Min, and when they meet at Min's (male) best friend's Bitter Sixteen party (natch) they are intrigued by one another enough to go on a date.  From that a relationship is born fraught with high school drama and the tension that is walking a tight rope of clique social norms.  In other words, Jock meets Film Girl and the only two happy about it are Jock and Film Girl.
This is the box that Min leaves for Ed along with the letter.  It is one of many lovely illustrations within the book which is printed on lovely high gloss paper.  The book weighs approximately one ton due to aforementioned gorgeous paper.  Well, the paper and the earnest teenage emotion.  What's in the box? I'll let Min tell you.  "Every last souvenir of the love we had, the prizes and the debris of this relationship, like the glitter in the gutter when the parade has passed, all the everything and whatnot kicked to the curb.  I'm dumping the whole box back into your life, Ed, every item of you and me."  See what I mean?  That's on page 3.  And it is absolutely appropriate for the sixteen year-old dramatic girl to have these feelings about a relationship that lasted little over a month, but I had to remind myself of that for the first 30 or so pages. 

Once you get past that, though, Mr. Handler (or Lemony Snicket to other Series of Unfortunate Events fans) writes a lovely and true account of a high school relationship between a not-quite-perfect-match.  I included the Pretty in Pink photo at the top because I am 90% sure if John Hughes were still around, he would option this book as his next teenage-centric movie.  There's a basketball game, bonfire, and two Halloween parties that he would capture pretty gloriously (and I know Min would approve of all the movie talk), and some family issues that he would know how to handle.  Then, of course, there's the male best friend that most people assume is either gay or simply too marginal to be an individual with an individual's feelings.  He also happens to be smitten with the (fairly naively) unknowing Min, which is a story line Mr. Hughes already did well (looking at you, Ducky).  It would have to be PG-13 because there's underage drinking and sex.  The sex is not graphic and is actually written in the perfect kind of way, but it happens. They also drink more than a healthy amount of coffee, though really it's just warm creamer and sugar.  Ultimately, I kind of fell in love with this book.  But the book ended.  And that is why we broke up.

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