Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

This is not a book review.

I need new books. I tell myself as I hesitantly opened Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up. It was one o’clock in the morning, and I found myself with the conscious need to sleep but sleep eludes me. My usual remedy would be to read until I have a hard time keeping my eyes open. I have already re-read all the books on my shelf (not that rereading is new to me) except for this one, and yet I can’t bring myself to do so.

Sure, the book in itself is neither mind blowing nor life changing. It’s the usual boy meets girl, they have a blissful relationship which predictably ends on a sour (or a bitter one?) note kind of story. The title itself is a giveaway, but it’s the journey of how they got to the end, and of course, the ending is the start of a new beginning.

Who says you cannot box up and throw out the parts of your life that you wish to forget? Written with a first person point of view, if you have ever been dumped (or have been in a relationship that miserably failed), you’ll find it quite easy to immerse yourself in the story as Min (short for Minerva, her father named her) goes through all the memories of her and Ed’s time together via the “souvenirs” she kept throughout the relationship and relives all the telltale signs (the things you found charming is the things you eventually hate) that lead to the break up.

She gave it back because those trinkets were associated with memories, feelings, and to Ed. Like Min, my memory works well with an association. When I was still a student, I watch television or listen to music while studying, it helps me remember more. Up until now, I remember a specific math problem I was trying to solve while eating nori crackers whenever I chance upon How I Met Your Mother’s Arrivederci Fiero episode. Every time I read Da Vinci Code, I remember how I was in third-year high school when I bought it and I felt like I had no friends left. I got Memoirs of a Geisha for Christmas and I remember how I spent the day after Christmas cooped up in my room to read it. And.. you get the picture.

You either have the feeling or you don’t.

C and I were this close to breaking up, our fights never last to a week, until we hit the roughest patch our relationship had ever been through. It lasted for nearly two months. During that time, I sought consolation in books and I guess this is why this book beckoned me to buy it. I’m a huge fan of Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, and I would have been a fan of Why We Broke Up too if only I had not bought it when it was almost relevant to my situation.

Oh, and by the way, I did finish rereading it. All the apprehension was gone, and I don’t feel as emotional than the first time I did. However, I probably would always go back to that memory whenever I read this book (and I still would want to punch Ed hard enough to break his nose).

Am I the only one? Do you go back to a time in your life, feel what you felt, whenever you read books you devoured during that experience?

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