The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan | Review

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The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan | ReviewThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux BYR on January 4, 2011
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 211
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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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.

(Last Updated On: June 10, 2022)

I picked this one up because it was on sale at my favorite bookstore, and I’m really glad that I did.

what i liked

  •  The amount of emotion in every Dictionary entry. You could really understand what the protagonist was going through. 
  • The story wasn’t completely told until the end. I know that this is usually the case with books, but I mean this in the sense that it was all kind of told out of order. Pieces of the story were put together, sort of creating a timeline, since everything wasn’t told chronologically, which made for a really interesting form of storytelling. 
  • The writing style. I really loved Levithan’s writing style from Every Day, and The Lover’s Dictionary was no exception.  
  • It’s so short, yet there is still a full story. I didn’t feel completely dissatisfied when the story ended, even though it did only take me about two hours to read. 

what i disliked

  • Though I loved the story, part of me still wanted more from The Lover’s Dictionary

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  1. I've heard about this book on and off for a few years now and just haven't gotten around to reading it. I tried reading Every Day and enjoyed the writing style just not the story. Maybe I'd like this one better. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. I am a big DL fan, and plan to read this at some point. I really enjoy when the author slowly gives us the pieces to put together, and I think the format is really ingenious too.

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