Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up - This one kind of missed the mark for me. I had high hopes for Why We Broke up. The concept, a girl leaving a box of mementoes on her ex’s front door along with a letter explain why they broke up, was something I felt most teens (and adults) could relate to. Sadly, I think the story falls short of living up to its potential.Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped let’s start off with what I did like. The concept was great, and something I could absolutely relate to. I had boxes full of mementos for a couple of my high school boyfriends. One of them I still have and another was very ceremoniously tossed in to the garbage not by me, but my now husband, then fiancé when we were moving into our current home. So having a few ex-boyfriend boxes of my own I really like the idea of giving it all back to the guy to let him figure out what to do with it all. The whole concept is rather cleansing, which is the point, because I’m sure Min’s ex Ed isn’t going to read the book of a letter that gets dropped on his doorstep along with all the junk inside. (More on that later.) The other thing I liked about this book is the art work. Each chapter starts with an illustration of one of the items in the box, and the chapter explains the origin of that particular item and how it came into Min’s position and what it has to do with her relationship with Ed. I feel the illustrations really add to the concept and the story. The book itself is a miniature box containing all the mementos of Min and Ed’s relationship.Now for what I did not like. As far as the characters in the book none of them were all that likeable, especially our protagonist Min. At first I liked Min, she was into old movies and that was fun at first because I enjoy old movies myself. Now I’m not a film buff so I don’t know every old movie ever made so when I didn’t recognize the first few movies she referenced I figured they were maybe a bit more obscure than what I’m familiar with. Min, however, continues to reference these obscure films and I realized that these movies are all made up for the story. The author could have easily used real films so at least the readers could connect with Min on a more personal level, because as I said before I highly doubt her ex would actually take the time to read what she wrote. Another problem I had with this book is that the entire 350 page book is the letter to her ex, which apparently she pens in an afternoon. In addition the impossibility that she could have written the entire story down (which hand written would be much longer than 350 pages unless her handwriting is very small) it’s the way she writes that bothers me. Min will recount entire conversations word for word, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can recount a conversation verbatim this morning let alone one I had months ago. With that in mind I feel the story would have worked better if (A) the large conversations had been left out and the memories were more generalized and recounted the way people actually talk about the past. or (B) split each chapter in to 3 parts 1. The illustration 2. The letter. 3. The flashback that goes with the letter. Either option would work better than how it’s written now. I understand that this “letter” or book is a Min’s way of getting over her ex, which as I said earlier I really liked. I find writing is a great way to get your feelings out of your head so you can analyze them. Not to mention dumping the entire letter and the box off at your ex’s to wash your hands of them and very plainly state “I’m done crying over you” is very empowering. The jury is, however,still out on if I believe Min expects Ed to actually read this “letter” she has left on his doorstep. I found myself wondering several times while reading the book if she is actually expecting him to read this, because for the life of me I can’t see Ed (or any teenage boy for that matter) reading 350+ pages about why they broke up. Now if this is just something she drops on his doorstep and never expects him to look at that is understandable, but then I can’t help but put myself in the author’s shoes. I guess what I’m saying is that if Min doesn’t expect her ex to read the book size letter she has written how can the author expect a reader to stick with the story to the end. I’ll say it again, the concept of this book was great, but it really just fell flat for me which is sad because this was one of those “I have to read this one before the kids get it” books for me. The story however, was just too drawn out and I found myself on more than one occasion contemplating putting the book down and picking up something else instead.