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I'm curently going to school for Writing, Literature, and Publishing. Reading is my biggest passion and I have dedicated my life to books.

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler



Title:Why We Broke Up

Author: Daniel Handler
Artist: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Year: 2011

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Summary: Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10798418-why-we-broke-up)

I would like to start off with, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS BOOK IS?? The illustrations by Maira Kalman are so beautiful and fun to look through. The version I had had thick white pages, full page illustrations, a brightly colored dust jacket, and a thick, white hardcover sprinkled with red rose petals. I had to take a few minutes to admired the book before I even started reading. As you can see, I held a bit of a photo shoot earlier...

As for the story itself, I loved it.  As Goodreads describes, the book is one long letter that Min writes to her exboyfriend, Ed. Mixed in are Kalman's illustrations of each item that Min places in the box that she is delivering to Ed. As you read you discover what each item represents and it's quite entertaining to follow. I loved being able to see the story of their relationship unfold from start to finish and there was not a moment where I was bored with it.

As I read I really felt like I was Min. Handler does an amazing job of creating her voice, jumping from thought to thought, describing each emotion, and pulling off a teenage girl in love. The style he used in this book did take a bit to get used to, mostly because he uses a lot of stream-of-consciousness writing, which I grew to like because it felt more authentic. If a teenage girl is writing a long emotional letter to her ex-boyfriend while sitting in a dinner, she's not going to stop and revise once she's done, she's just going to write everything that's on her mind and be on her way.

 I also loved Min's obsession with film. It reminded me of Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, which I still hold near and dear to my heart after finishing it last month. I want to go back and write down every film Min mentioned and watch them even though that isn't necessary to understand the book, Handler politely described the importance for readers like me who have no clue. If you love film and are knowledgable about some older classics you might enjoy the book for that reason alone. 

Source: http://bookventures.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-we-broke-up-by-david-handler.html

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

Title: 1984

Author: George Orwell

Publisher: New American Library

Year: 1948


My Rating: 4.5/5


Winston Smith lives in Oceania, a place where Big Brother and the Party rule. Anything the Party says is true, even if it was not so in the past. While Winston attempts to hide his knowledge of the party's corruption, he hopes for a rebellion and hopes for the rise of the rumored conspiracy group: the Brotherhood.


As someone who doesn't read many classics, it took me a while to get through this book, but it was nice to find a story that interested me. I found parts of it to be repetitive, most likely because of the need to describe Oceania's society to the reader. There were also multiple times were I thought Orwell was taking a while to get to a point. He would write five or so pages on an idea that could be understood on one.


Besides the occasional drawn out explanations, I really did love this book. 1984 is divided into three parts, and as I progressed through each part, the story seemed to pick up more and more. Though I would get bored at times, Orwell would suddenly throw in a twist that would spike my interest and keep me reading. By the third book I was completely invested and wanted the story to keep going.


As for the characters, I absolutely loved Winston. He's just a middle-aged single guy trying to get by in a party-centered society. As the reader, I was constantly in his mind and grew to learn how he thought and felt. This became hard, especially at the end. I felt so much for Winston, and I just wanted him to be happy! There is also a love interest in the book, Julie. I didn't like her so much, mostly because of her young mind compared to Winston knowledgable, aged mind. She had much simpler thoughts about the party than Winston and it turned my off from her.


The writing is amazing. Orwell's description of the setting and the society gives ground for the reader. I especially loved the time he put into Winston's character. I was able to feel every emotion and experience that he faced. It's hard to explain it without giving an example. Here is my favorite quote:


"Almost as swiftly as he had imagined it, she had torn her clothes off, and when she flung them aside it was with that same magnificent gesture by which a whole civilization seemed to by annihilated. Her bodied gleamed white in the sun. But for a moment he did not look at her body; his eyes were anchored by the freckled face with its faint, bold smile."


I recommend this book to any one who is interested in dystopian societies and classics.

Source: http://bookventures.blogspot.com/2013/05/1984-by-george-orwell.html