January 22, 2011

Review - The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Description from Goodreads:

"A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries...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've been a fan of David Levithan's young adult novels for awhile, and I was really excited to hear that he would be writing a book for an adult audience too. His writing has a poetic quality to it that really draws me in. Once again I was blown away by the beauty of David Levithan's writing and his ability really make me feel deeply for the characters.  The format of this book is really unique, and while it made for a quick read, I found myself wanting to go back and re-read certain entries and really savor them. The entries are listed in alphabetical order, so they do not tell the story of a relationship chronologically. This was a little confusing for me at first, but eventually I realized that the timeline didn't matter. The entries revealed the ups and downs of a relationship in brief snapshots of memories and feelings. This book is heartbreaking at times and humorous at others. This was a really rewarding reading experience for me, and I hope you'll give The Lover's Dictionary a chance too. 

Here are just a few of my favorite entries: 

"autonomy, n.
'I want my books to have their own shelves,' you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together." - p. 22

"corrode, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust." - p. 64

"disarray, n.
At times, I feel like I'm living with a ninety-year-old, finding a box of crackers in the laundry hamper, or a pair of socks by the vodka. Sometimes I tell you where I found things, and we joke about it. Other times, I just put them back." - p. 73

"dispel, v
It was the way you said, 'I have something to tell you.' I could feel the magic drain from the room." -p. 74

"encroach, v.
The first three nights we spent together, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't used to your breathing, your feet on my legs, your weight in the bed. In truth, I still sleep better when I'm alone. But now I allow that sleep isn't always the most important thing." -p. 83


fourth musketeer said...

I got an autographed copy of this one at ALA, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet! Looks like a quick read, though.

Emily said...

I just checked out Will Grayson, Will Grayson! Haven't started it yet, but maybe I will this weekend!

Katie said...

My gosh, his writing is just lyrical. David Levithan is so wonderful. I reeeaaally want to read The Lover's Dictionary.

Jessica Lawlor said...

I cannot wait to read this one! I just got it out from the library and it sounds fantastic!

Jennie said...

This sounds so adorable! Perfect for book lovers!

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