Study Guide

Min Green in Why We Broke Up

Min Green

If you were to meet Min Green in real life, you'd get the following spiel: "Min, short for Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, because my dad was getting a master's when I was born" (4.57). She'd be a little bit nervous and nerdy and shy, at least at first, but once she warmed up to you, she'd talk your ear off, though you probably wouldn't mind. Min is interesting, or at least that's what people are telling her all the time. What they mean is that Min's witty and creative and prone to flights of fancy. She lives in her head, and her head is in the clouds.

Our girl Min is the narrator of the novel and a star in the movie of her own life. That's not to say she's egotistical (though like a lot of teenagers, she's a little self-obsessed)—she's just really into movies, and she makes sense of the world by relating it back to her favorite films. When she finds herself dating somebody who doesn't share this interest, to Min's credit, this doesn't really phase her; she stays openly into films, no matter how much Ed busts on her.

Speaking of Ed, Min was chugging along through her junior year at Hellman High School, doing her thing, when along comes Ed Slaterton, a senior who starts "smacking [her] life around" (39.1). Like a classic leading lady on the silver screen, Min loves Ed with her whole heart—she pushes herself out of her comfort zone, supporting Ed and his interests (think: basketball games and popular jocks). Well, at least until she finds out he's been cheating on her… then she drops him like he's hot. In other words, Ed rocks her world—and then he rocks it all over again. Ugh.

Five Stages of Grief

When Min and Ed break up, Min sinks low—it's a loss, and she needs time to grieve it. Min tells us her story post-breakup from a place of deep anger, but it's balanced by her sentimentality. She has fetishized and saved all sorts of stuff from her five-week relationship with Ed, everything from real gifts (a cookbook, some earrings) to actual garbage (dirty dish towels, condom wrappers). As she catalogs these relics in a letter to Ed, we move through their love story, and along the way, Min comes to accept what happened.

But before Min reaches a place of acceptance, she's kind of a hot mess. See, during the relationship, Min ignores her intuition, as well as outright warnings from all sorts of well-meaning people, opting to cavort with Ed in a world that's not quite real (a.k.a. one in which Min believes Ed is faithful). Their love only thrives when they're off by themselves; it doesn't seem to work in the real world. Min writes:

We couldn't only have the magic nights buzzing through the wires. We had to have the days, too, the bright impatient days spoiling everything with their unavoidable schedules, their mandatory times that don't overlap, their loyal friends who don't get along. (11.105)

You know what nights are, right? Dark. Min and Ed only work when they're isolated, when their relationship doesn't have to navigate the actual world. In the light of the world beyond the two of them, these two just don't work. And in the light of day, where Min can see that Ed hasn't been faithful to her, well, these two just don't stand a fighting chance. In a nutshell, that's why they broke up. And while it's definitely hard for Min, as the book ends, it seems she realizes there just might be better fits for her, romantically speaking—perhaps even in the form of Al. Who does like movies.