Monday, July 23, 2012

Unusual genre for author - theparisnews.com: Lifestyles

 Why We Broke Up

Unusual genre for author - theparisnews.com: Lifestyles: At this time of year, I can’t help but think of Grease and Summer Nights and romance — or not.

And that thought reminds me of a mysterious brown package that came to me by post earlier this year. It was an unexpected gift from my aunt, and it felt a little like Christmas, so I tore open the package and found a hardcover book.

Upon seeing it, I was a little confused. Why would she think I needed to read Dan Handler’s new book? He wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events, under the pseudonym of Lemoney Snicket, and I just couldn’t see her getting into that genre. Intrigued, I opened it up to read and couldn’t put it down, and it is still in my favorite books of 2012 list.

“Why We Broke Up” is a young adult story of Min (short for Minerva, Roman Goddess of wisdom) who has a penchant for saying “whatnot” and for old films, and Ed, co-captain of the basketball team who has a penchant for all things jock and for saying “no offense.” It is their breakup story, told through the articles of their falling in love story, which makes for a great literary device, helping garner the book a Printz Honor (2012). True to her nickname, Min is a teen girl who is just beginning to know what she thinks, despite not knowing as much as she thinks she does.

My hardback is a treasure for its silky pages and color graphics of all of the “items.” More fun is found on the web page, which possibly helps first timers (or repeat timers) get through the break up, and causes the rest of us to laugh and smile in relief that the past is the past and we’ve all been there done that, but yes, we’ll all do it again because it is so worth it.

Min conjures up that whole first love thing that we all remember. For example, Min, writing of their first real conversation, says: “After a few minutes, we’d stop rattling, we’d adjust, we’d settle in, and the conversation would speed into the night. Sometimes it was just laughing at the comparison of favorites, I love that flavor, that color’s cool, that album sucks, I’ve never seen that show, she’s awesome, he’s an idiot, you must be kidding, no way mine’s better, safe and hilarious like tickling. Sometimes it was stories we told, taking turns and encouraging, it’s not boring, it’s OK, I heard you, I hear you, you don’t have to say it, you can say it again, I never told this to anyone, I won’t tell anyone else. You told me that time... I told you that time... That time... That time...”

Min also describes surviving the breakup, and the breakup scene is just like it should be, told in an edgy stream of consciousness voice that immerses you in the emotion, helping you remember that particular angst and perhaps even have compassion for someone going through it, like Min’s friends did.

I’m glad Min survived the breakup, may we all do so well. Why We Broke Up is a book that teens and adults will love, and will hopefully pass on as needed. I was glad for the gift of this story; others will be, too (and yes, you might be surprised that your teen will read something other than dystopian fantasy). But that’s just my opinion. You be the judge.

Unplug and pick up a book — you might just change your life.



Sydney Young is a Paris resident and an avid book enthusiast.

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