on January 4th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Also by this author: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Another Day, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
In David Levithan’s first book for the older than young-adult crowd, we follow the ups and downs of a relationship as told through short dictionary entries. The nitty-gritty of coupledom is explored from first meeting to moving in. This is a short and sweet chronicle of a relationship, and falling in love.
I have enjoyed David Levithan’s writing in the books he has co-authored with Rachel Cohn and John Green. This is the first I have read that he has authored alone. His familiar writing style shines through in this book, and solidifies my admiration of his work. I also think the cover art suits this book perfectly with the words contained in a heart shape.
The narrator is an unnamed male and the story is told in dictionary style from A-Z. One word per page is chosen and includes the parts of speech as in a dictionary. This becomes the starting off point to describe an event in the relationship. It is fun to read the creative words he chooses for each letter and see how the story relates. I even learned some new vocabulary words in this book.
Starting out, I was not sure that it was going to be easy to follow the story in this format of short entries. However, the emotions and feelings of the characters come through well and the story works in this format. It is interesting that sometimes a new word entry will revisit or continue a scene discussed within a previous entry. At first I thought I was re-reading a page before I realized that the scene was expanded.
The good, the bad and the ugly moments are included in this intimate look at relationships. The writing is observant and sharp in documenting the day-to-day life of adjusting to being a couple. I enjoyed this insightful, quick read and recommend it for fans of David Levithan’s books and fans of contemporary fiction. Although this book is written for adults, I found it shelved in the Young Adult section at the library. I urge you to seek out this moving and honest portrayal of love and relationships.
The author has created a twitter feed with new definitions written in character: http://twitter.com/#!/loversdiction