Tag Archives: New York City

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.