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.
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.
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.
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