Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Title: The Lover's Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, 211 pages
Date Published: January 4, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries.

basis, n.
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.
I’ll let the description speak for itself in explaining the book, but I will say: this is a short read. I finished it in about an hour and like always, David Levithan does not disappoint.

The format of The Lover’s Dictionary is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Short snippets of the lives of a couple are showcased through dictionary definitions. The chosen words play out in each scenario, some funny, some tender, some angry, and some a little heartbreaking. Levithan somehow captures the narrator and made me care for him. He remains nameless, as does the woman in question, but the two of them have this up and down, rollercoaster of a relationship that will get into your heart and make you feel for them.

The Lover’s Dictionary is not fun or lighthearted; it is real and full of aching and pain, but also the budding curiosity of new love and the hope for a forever. David Levithan is a force to be reckoned with and this book showcases that. Each page brought with it another line of inspiration or a few words that just jumped out and grabbed me. I don’t even have a favorite line, I have about ten.

Opening line:
Aberrant, adj.
“I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” you said. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines (one of many): You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. Your memories will be my most lasting impression. ~ pg. 161
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Ok, first of all, your description of this one sounds incredible. The fact that such a slim, fast read is so powerful is indicative of Levithan's talent! I love his works, and I'm just dying to read this one now. Fabulous review, Nikki :)

Candace said...

I haven't read this one yet (crap, another book I've been dying to get my hands on) but I love the other books of his I've read and I've heard amazing things about this one. I love the quirkiness of his characters especially. But he uses some powerful words and descriptions.

BrittLit said...

I'm glad you loved this one too. David Levithan can not write a bad book. This is just further evidence of that fact. Great review!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

This book is one you do not want to miss! I often find myself picking it up and re-reading my favorite parts...and there are a lot. But the book is so short, and the 'definitions' are almost like drabbles, so I read on and on.

Bere said...

Can you believe I haven't read anything by David Levithan yet? Omg, I know! The Lover's Dictionary sounds really incredible and I would definitely love to read this one. Thank you for your awesome review, Nikki. I can't wait to pick this one up! =D

Lori said...

Great review!! I absolutely loved this book! David can do no wrong in my opinion, but this book was just gorgeous!

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