Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why We Broke Up

Handler, Daniel. 2011. WHY WE BROKE UP. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316127257 [Suggested Grades Levels 9-12]

When smart artsy film aficionado, Min and popular basketball playing Ed, start dating, many people asked “why?” While the answer to that question is not given here, we do have Min’s reasoning for WHY WE BROKE UP.

After the split, Min returns the artifacts of their relationship in a box to Ed. Traveling through the box and its seemingly random items (bottle caps, an empty match box, an undeveloped roll of film), Min tells the story of how the couple met, how their relationship developed and the significance of each item. Many of the chapters end with the recurring phrase “that’s WHY WE BROKE UP.”

Handler’s writing is beautiful and alternates between page long, detailed descriptions, to the terse, shorthand like way in which teens communicate. Chapters are peppered with obscure move title references that will have many readers running to IMDB. Who can say why people come together, but Min is eloquent in her reasons about WHY WE BROKE UP.

What are the relics or artifacts of your life? Use cigar boxes and have readers collect items whose meaning may not be apparent at first glance. Create a background story that tells what these items are and what they signify about your life.

Other smart heartbreaks:
Green, John. AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES. ISBN 9780142410707
Tibensky, Arlaina. AND THEN THINGS FALL APART. ISBN 9781442413238
Vivian, Siobhan. NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL. ISBN 9780545169165

By Marianne Follis

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