Saturday, March 5, 2011

BR: The Lover's Dictionary

by David Levithan

I feel like it's a sin that this is the first time I've read a Levithan-only book... and only partly because I feel very influenced by Khy's fangirling ;) But no worries, I will be reading his other works very very soon.


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.


My Thoughts

Words can hardly describe the amazingness known as The Lover’s Dictionary. I am tempted to skip a review and just throw a ton of 'definitions' your way, but alas, I gotta dispend some of my adoration for this novel to you guys.
Love, n.

I’m not going to even try.

This isn’t YA, but don’t let this detract you from trying it, because this incredibly unique novel told with so much heart you wonder if this is where our overworked teenage emotions eventually channel to.

The relationship described is an adult one, and it is not sunshine and buttercups, it’s real and it's life. There’s doubt, mistrust, mistakes, hope, and so much love swept between ‘aberrant’ and ‘zenith’; adjectives and nouns and verbs that make up our body, mind, and soul. Anecdotal entries, single-sentence entries, entries with metaphors and entries that seemingly have nothing to do with the title word.

Yet everything works. So, so well.

I wish more authors were as talented as Levithan, this is the first non-collaboration I’ve read of his and it rocked my world. His prose and diction knows no bounds and neither does his creativity. The lack of chronology (minus alphabetical, of course) makes the novel more interesting as sometimes half a page feels like a earth-shattering flashback and another simple sentence pushes the clouds away.

I also loved the unnamed narrator and his lover, neither of them is perfect, and I feel like a broken record but both of them were so real. The lack of information given about the two of them in part doesn't relaly take away from the novel, it just makes the root of the emotions more relatable.

Might I add that I learned a lot of new words. I like learning new words. It makes me feel smart. This book is smart, so if you like smart books, read this.

The Lover’s Dictionary is a charming, heartfelt and intensely profound novel that effortlessly redefines the intricacies of life.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding, no way it’s anything else.
Recommended for: People with hearts.
Acknowledgements: John Green! Haha, 3.5/5

9.1/10 – because it’s simply gorgeous. It made my heart ache and sent shivers down my spine, it filled my heart with gooey hope and also perhaps served a refreshing smack at times. I really loved this novel and I definitely hope you guys get a chance to read it, it’s GOURMET LITERATURE (this will trend, trust me).

Entries I marked down*: arrears, cajole, ineffable, kinetic, love, scapegoat.

*no necessarily my favourites, just ones that caught my eye

source: library author website


  1. I've started to read this one the last time I was at Barnes & Noble, and I'm STILL waiting to pick up a copy!!!! I can't wait though. I'm very excited to get my hands on it. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. :)

  2. Fantastic review, love your enthusiasm. It sounds all kind of awesome!!

  3. So glad to see all these positive reviews! I haven't read this one, yet, but I loved Boy Meets Boy and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, both written by Levithan. Plus, he (David Levithan) is just a super nice guy, so it's awesome that his books are so well received.

  4. I have to admit, I haven't read anything by David Levithan either. I've heard so many good things though, and after this review I am determined to read something by him soon! Thanks for the lovely review.

  5. Oh gosh, I officially need this book. It sounds fantastic! Such a unique way of writing. Seriously, I have no idea why I haven't read any of David's previous novels, because clearly the man is a genius. This is definitely going on my to-read list! Excellent review!

    (Stopping by from The Saturday Network!)

  6. I adore David Levithan and this one is on my tbr pile but, b/c it's for an adult audience, it keeps getting bumped. I think it I should put it up though. Love your review and love your blog! Found it on The Saturday Network!


  7. Don't feel too bad. I've yet to read a David Levithan book at all! I know, I know....YA book blogger epic fail! Lol.

    I think it's really interesting that this is told in dictionary format. At first, I wasn't really sure how that would work, but since you enjoyed it, I think I'm going to put it on my TBR list.

    Stopped by from the Saturday Network!

  8. This is the kind of book that I would deeply love to own so I could reread it again and pick it up often and leaf through it. It sounds so good. I haven't read anything by David Levithan but recently I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I don't think that counts since it's a collab, lol. But I will definitely be reading this when I happen to get a copy. Awesome review, Audrey :)

  9. Oh my gosh! I'd heard of this, but now I'm even more excited to read it! It sounds like the sort of book that I would absolutely adore for its ingeniousness and wordiness!

  10. Wonderful review! I read this one in a single sitting and was just in awe once I finished. All the new words and the incredible, yet disjointed story, come together so well. I am in love with this book.


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*