Having just finished this book, written by author Daniel Handler who most of us will know as Lemony Snicket, I wanted to share my thoughts. Thoughts, which will include spoilers, so those inclined to read it in the near future, may wish to look away now.
Why We Broke Up tells the story of Min, a heartbroken young girl sitting in a coffee shop writing the final goodbyes to now ex-boyfriend Ed, as she prepares to give back his things. Beautifully illustrated, each chapter is nameless - only marked by an image of an item in the box. Through cinema tickets, condom wrappers and ugly gifted jewellery, Min recounts her romance with the athlete, who endlessly describes her as 'different' to the plethora of girls he has slept with and yet is still intimidated by her one previous relationship. Ed and Min are from different worlds, and Min struggles to even like her boyfriend at times, as she suffers through a wash of blonde-haired sports-groupies, each vying for the illustrious role of basketball player's girlfriend.
At first, I find Handler's narrative painful to read on a personal level. We, the reader, see Min falling in love with a deceptive womaniser and feel the sting of the dramatic irony that the title provides us with. As the novel goes on, the cracks start to show - a high profile event for Ed and Min as a couple ends in tears and slowly rifts begin to form between Min and her friends because of Ed's lack of respect for them. In the concluding chapters we learn that Ed, as we had suspected, had not seen the early stages of his relationship with Min as valid and had cheated under the facade of 'we were not official yet.' Min rightly walks away, the better person for it.
All in all, I liked Why We Broke Up - an enjoyable and emotive read for the bitter and unloved. And there was me thinking that fiction was all made up.