Tag Archives: David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green and David Levithan
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 9780141346113
Genre: Teen, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I have always believed in the cause of LGBT literature. More so in my country and that is targeted at teens who are confused and need some more perspective and clarity on sexual orientation. It is a pity that that is not the case in India. There are so many teenagers who still struggle with being gay and do not know what to do about it. I also wish that more writers write about what they face with sensitivity and humour as it is clearly done in “Will Grayson, Will Grayson”.

“Will Grayson, Will Grayson” is about two Wills and what happens when their lives converge. They are both in high school and each is facing his own demon. The book is special also because of Tiny Cooper – the gay teen who only wants to spread happiness and kindness and direct the most successful high-school musical of them all.

What works the most for the book is the joint writing by John Green and David Levithan. Both writers have distinct styles and this is what reflects on the pages as well. The writing is overwhelming, funny, and so real in so many parts and scenes. I am so glad that these two writers teamed up for this book. There are some brilliant secondary characters and the writers have made use of technology most aptly in the entire course of the book.

What I loved the most about the book is the honesty with which it is written. The lives of teenagers with all its confusion and chaos are accurately captured without it being over the top. The book has some beautiful moments when it seems that life is so simple and perhaps one can apply the same to one’s life; however that remains to be seen for a later date. “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” is all about being you and carrying on regardless of how life works out in the end.

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Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 978-1405264433
Genre: Teen Fiction, Young Adult, Literary Fiction
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There are very few “gay novels” which I have read that have managed to leave their mark on the head and the heart. There are very few novels which I have been able to connect with. “Two Boys Kissing” was a book which I almost read in one sitting and wept buckets while and after the reading process.

“Two Boys Kissing” is just that – two boys kissing. There are eight boys and the book is about their lives – sometimes intermingling and sometimes not. There was something that I could identify with on every single page. It had me crying, because I could relate to everything – because I could sense my loneliness as a gay man through it, I could sense my frustration and above all, I could also sense the world we live in and how it decides sometimes to just not understand love at all.

The book speaks to everyone I think – not just gay men. It is about two boys who kiss in the ground of their high school – to prove a point, to tell the world that it is okay for two boys to kiss. They are no longer lovers and yet one feels strongly for the other. They have to break a record to make a new one. They have to stand and kiss. They cannot break away from the kiss for a single moment and that is how it is.

On the other hand, a pink-haired boy meets a blue-haired boy at a Gay party and they take a liking to each other and their story begins from there. They are just beginning and one of them has a secret to share.

There is Tariq, for whom the boys are kissing. Tariq, who was beaten up by boys who hate gay men and boys. The kiss is for solidarity. It is for brotherhood and Tariq is right there, to film the kiss. To let more people know.

Cooper hates who he is. He cannot come to terms with his sexuality. So he is online – in chat rooms, on sex date apps, waiting for someone to come by. Till his father, sees his chat history and all hell breaks loose. He is only seventeen.

Then there is Peter and Neil – radically different from each other and boys in love. Who know that maybe their love may not last long, but they have now and they want to live every moment they have together, though each his dealing with his insecurity about love.

This is the plot of the book. This is the story of so many gay boys, who are now men. Of boys who have so much to learn and see in the world. The story is narrated by men who are gone – who used to be boys. They were young and now they are dead.

Why is the book needed to be read by not gay men or boys, but also by the straight people? Because it is time, we need equality in society. This is unfair. We cannot love someone because he happens to be another man. So what? The ridicule, the bias and prejudice has to stop somewhere.

I do not even know if the gay world will be understood. But there is always hope with books such as these. With more movies, music and art forms that educate people – that also let people know that we are not any different. We are all similar.

The writing is simply breath-taking. Every line and sentence hurt and rang true throughout the book. I could identify myself through it all. The thoughts and the emotions could not have been more identifiable with. David Levithan could also write the book the way he did, is because he is gay. He has gone through it all and experienced it first-hand, so the writing comes from a more personal space.

I highly recommend this book to one and all. Read it. Be a little more sensitive to people. Let there be love. This is the best book I have read this month. No other book comes close.

Here are some quotes from the book:

“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.”

“Love is so painful, how could you ever wish it on anybody? And love is so essential, how could you ever stand in its way?”

“It is very hard to stay alive just for your own sake. It is very hard to stare into day after day without another familiar face staring back. It turns your heart into a purposeless muscle.”

“When you need to hold onto something, you should. Whatever gets you through, take it.”

“Laughter rarely lasts longer than a few seconds, it’s true. But how enjoyable those few seconds are.”

“There are all these moments you don’t think you will survive. And then you survive.”

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Book Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Title: The Lover’s Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Picador USA
ISBN: 978-1250002358
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 211
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is an ode to love – a subtle love letter to love and its nature. That is what the book means to me. Needless to say that the novel is written in the form of a dictionary – a dictionary of love and a relationship surrounding that love.

The idea is simple: How does one talk about love? Is there a way to talk about it? There are so many ways to talk about it. Love, which pulls us out of the ordinary and the mundane life and promises something so much more than what it can give. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. “The Lover’s Dictionary” is a song to those moments of love, almost every shade and colour, every emotion explored through a relationship and its definitions.

Love doesn’t unfold in bullet points. It needs definitions and conversations. It needs sharing and may be some looking back to see where it can go ahead, and if it should. David Levithan’s book is meant to be shared with people so they can be enthralled by its beauty.

The setting of the book is New York City – a relationship unravels through definitions (as mentioned earlier). The definitions in this dictionary are exhilarating and sometimes leave you breathless. Everyone who has ever been in a relationship or may be not also can connect with it. It speaks to all of us – straight, gay, men and women. The language is evocative. The words chosen to try to define love and its complexities are carefully chosen and unique. There is unapologetic romance on every page and that’s the sort of writer that David Levithan is. You can read the book from any page and may be try and make sense of your life in that instant with reference to that definition given. The writing is that powerful.

Sometimes the “dictionary” entries are only as much as a single sentence and yet so fulfilling. There are genuine insights to love and the possibility of it or not. Here are some gems from it: For example, “balk, v. I was the one who said we should live together. And even as I was doing it, I knew this would mean that I would be the one to blame if it all went wrong. Then I consoled myself with this: if it all went wrong, the last thing I’d care about was who was to blame for moving in together.” Or this: “reservation, n. There are times when I worry that I’ve already lost myself. That is, that myself is so inseparable from being with you that if we were to separate, I would no longer be. I save this thought for when I feel the darkest discontent. I never meant to depend so much on someone else.” Or this: love, n. I’m not even going to try.

The book talks of everything love is – first dates, the flirting, the wooing, the living-In, the break-ups and the coming back together to make it work. David Levithan’s writing is beyond superb. He has the capacity to string sentences like no other writer – that is his unique way to do so and that worked for me on all levels. For me, I could read and re-read this book – again and again and cherish it till I do not give enough of it. It is subtle, surreal, magical and takes you to a love – real, funny, heart-breaking and spectacular. You are missing out on something if you haven’t read it yet and I envy you if you would be reading it for the first time because it is so good.

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Book Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Title: The Lover’s Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books
ISBN: 978-0-374-19368-3
Genre: Literary Fiction
PP: 224 pages
Price: $18.00
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

We all fall in love – some or the other time. We all have fallen in love – some or the other time, and as coincidental it may seem – we all speak the same language of love when we meet. How can you write about love? There are many different kinds of love, as well as different emotions for each stage of love. Clearly using a dictionary of sorts is the easiest. Or is it? This is a story about glimpses into the world of love. Small fragments that help make up the big picture. A story about one couple in one relationship and what love meant to them at different points in time.

This was a fantastic read. Heather O’Neill is quoted on the back of this book saying: “…an addictive and wildly fun read.” I must disagree with the thought of this being fun. It was very enjoyable, but equally heartbreaking. I found very little fun about this save for the format of the story. If you have ever been in a relationship you should read this novel. It was so well-written(as one has come to expect from David Levithan).

I love how the narrator is a man, but the lover is not ever identified as male of female. I think it helps you to see the relationship in two different worlds, or in whichever you can comprehend. I also loved the repetition that slowly revealed parts of the story further. Besides the happy times and the good times that the narrator talks about in his story there’s also the complications, the hard times and the heartbreaking episodes that you get sometimes from having a long term relationship.

This will be one of those books that I can pick out of my shelf, flip through any page and just read an entry when I need some romance, or just when I want something to cheer me up. The book is only about 200 pages long and a few of the pages only have one sentence but the meaning can be so much bigger than that and it might even take you a little longer to flip the page just so you can savor and digest what you just read. It really makes you think. It was like a really expensive and delicious piece of chocolate, you can’t rush it, you want to taste every bite. If you want a realistic love story, one that is very unique and beautifully written, I truly recommend The Lover’s Dictionary.