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The Lover's Dictionary
     

The Lover's Dictionary

4.3 89
by David Levithan
 

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How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe something at once utterly mundane and wholly transcendent, that has the power to consume our lives completely, while making us feel part of something infinitely larger than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary

Overview

How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe something at once utterly mundane and wholly transcendent, that has the power to consume our lives completely, while making us feel part of something infinitely larger than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary constructs the story of a relationship as a dictionary. Through these sharp entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of coupledom, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

Editorial Reviews

Yvonne Zipp
…Levithan creates a genuine emotional arc for his unnamed characters that makes this book much more than a gimmick.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This cute "novel" by YA author Levithan consists of a series of words and their definitions, each evoking a phase or theme about a fledgling romance. (e.g., fledgling: "Part of the reason I preferred reading to sex was that I at least knew I could read well"). The entries do gradually unravel a love story: the narrator has met a woman ("you") through an online dating site (aberrant: "‘I don't normally do this kind of thing,' you said. ‘Neither do I,' I assured you"). He endures all the writhings of new love, by turns eager, reserved, and hopeful about their evolving relationship, and transported by the joy of mutual exploration, the two move in together (balk: "If it all went wrong, the last thing I'd care about was who was to blame for moving in together") and are eventually undone (livid: "You went and broke our lives"). Levithan attains some heartbreaking moments as well as pitches of hilarity with his concise, polished writing. Inherent in such an endeavor (that just happens to hit shelves around Valentine's Day) is an adorableness thankfully grounded by Levithan's wit. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“Levithan brings ingenuity and a wry edge to his first adult novel. . . Among the novel's pleasures are micro-stories that speak volumes, reminiscent of Lydia Davis' work. . . There's plenty of reflection, not just on the relationship but on the attempt to distill and describe such complex feeling, including this: ‘Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.' That, by the way, is Levithan's definition of ineffable.” —Heller McAlpin, NPR.org

“‘The Lover's Dictionary' is clever and poetic and, sigh, sad. . . The brief entries are like poetry; poetry with a gravitational pull back to the central narrative, which is two people falling in love. The fact that the pieces hold together so well is testament, not only to Levithan's light hand and gracious writing but also to the power of this universal story.” —Susan Salter Reynolds, Newsday

“Young-adult novelist David Levithan doesn't list this entry under the V in the alphabetically headed (and arranged) chapters of ‘The Lover's Dictionary,' his charming short novel about a love affair and its bittersweet evolution from first flirt to shaky domesticity, for lovers of all gender persuasions . . . Surrounded by large amounts of white space--which may be useful for readers as we walk through these dictionary-like entries for musing on our own loves and losses--the spare number of words in Levithan's novel may be just enough . . . But allow me to exclaim. Without ellipsis. (and some white space) Here is a lovely Valentine's Day gift for lovers!” —Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle

“Levithan crafts a love affair as sharp, funny, and sad as any you'd find in an epic novel. . . The Lover's Dictionary isn't about how lessons were learned, and in what order--it's a documentation of facts, memories, war wounds. And anyone who has been in a romantic relationship will recognize themselves in Levithan's lovers, from the tiniest details of merging bookshelves and quiet afternoons to the largest anxieties of sexual inadequacy and romantic reciprocity. Levithan's rhapsody is just that: an ode to desire written as an account of the traces such desire leaves behind.” —Jessica Freeman-Slade, TheRumpus.net

“David Levithan makes every word count . . . Levithan gives readers the kind of love story that Billy Pilgrim in ‘Slaughterhouse-Five' would have appreciated: unstuck in time, reliving moments in unpredictable order and in varying emotional colors. . . an equal opportunity romance with wit and rue, kisses and tears, that anyone can enjoy.” —Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“From ‘aberrant' to ‘zenith,' David Levithan's latest creates a relationship in short scenes, packed with lyrical language. Entries slip back and forth in time as they unfold through an alphabet of romance, anger, forgiveness and tenderness to make up one particular relationship . . . The entries manage to be both intently focused and hinting at the larger picture. They read more like a well-crafted series of poems than a linear story line. Each word is defined and captured in a moment of the relationship. Levithan moves from romance to heartbreak to flirtation to devotion, in alphabetical order.” —Elizabeth Willse, Star-Ledger

“Interestingly, each definition is told from the point of view and in the first-person voice of only one of the partners. The other partner's voice remains silent throughout except as quoted by the narrator. Nevertheless, both come wonderfully alive, emerging as complex, multidimensional human beings, happy and unhappy, ebullient and angry, sweet and sour, and so--delightfully--forth. Happily, the order of the alphabet does not dictate the order of the story, which moves backward and forward in time. Thus, the dramatic necessity of conflict arises from one partner's infidelity, the impact of which is then explored at various points in the history of the partnership. Nothing is cut-and-dried, however, for as Levithan demonstrates, intimacy is sometimes enigmatic and, as he notes under ineffable, "No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough." So you must clearly pick and choose which to use, an act that Levithan has accomplished artfully and satisfyingly.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Levithan attains some heartbreaking moments as well as pitches of hilarity with his concise, polished writing. Inherent in such an endeavor is an adorableness thankfully grounded by Levithan's wit.” —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
A author Levithan (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) enters the adult market with a novel posing as a dictionary. Written from the perspective of a man in an unnamed couple, each entry, from "aberrant" to "zenith," defines a word within the context of their relationship. The entries follow the couple from their online meeting forward into cohabitation. It's not all hearts and flowers: entries are philosophical or melancholic as often as romantic, documenting, among other things, his shyness and intimacy issues and her drinking problem. The results read like little prose poems or especially pithy Facebook posts. This is an easy book to zip through in one or two sittings, but be forewarned: a dictionary doesn't end with happily, or unhappily, ever after. It's a book of moments, not conclusions; reading them can get addictive. VERDICT This intimate, honest look at how one plus one can be both more and less than two is strongly recommended for readers who don't need a high degree of specificity or resolution. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10.]—Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews

A young man chooses an unusual format to record the details of his longtime relationship with a woman he meets online.

The two unnamed lovers at the heart of this bittersweet take on love and commitment have a common enough story. Boy meets girl, they fall hard for each other, move into an apartment, and then wonder if they should even be together. The boy, a New York literary type, chooses to tell their story as an A-Z glossary, with each word definition standing in for something associated with their relationship. The definitions—from "aberrant" to "zenith," and everything in between—offer quick glimpses of two years of couplehood. A lot can be gleaned from the brief entries, which often read as prose poems. The narrator's beloved, we learn, is beautiful, gregarious and drinks too much. He is shy and fastidious. She is bruised from a dysfunctional past, while his childhood was happy. They travel, meet each other's families and fall into routines. He adores her but has doubts about their ultimate compatibility. He struggles with simmering resentments, fears and neediness. And then an episode of infidelity causes possible irreparable damage. Can they even move beyond it? While gimmicky and saddled with a narrator who takes himself a bit too seriously, this adult effort from one of the authors of Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2006) still manages to hit some universal truths about love's perfect imperfections.

A quirky Valentine to modern romance, from the guy's point of view.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007377978
Publisher:
Fourth Estate (GB)
Publication date:
02/28/2011
Pages:
211
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Lover's Dictionary


By David Levithan

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2011 David Levithan
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9430-9


CHAPTER 1

A


aberrant, adj.

"I don't normally do this kind of thing," you said.

"Neither do I," I assured you.

Later it turned out we had both met people online before, and we had both slept with people on first dates before, and we had both found ourselves falling too fast before. But we comforted ourselves with what we really meant to say, which was: "I don't normally feel this good about what I'm doing."

Measure the hope of that moment, that feeling.

Everything else will be measured against it.


abstain, v.

I'm sorry I was so surprised you didn't drink that night.

"Is something wrong?" I asked. It wasn't like you to turn down a drink after work.

"Go ahead," you said. "Drink for both of us."

So I ordered two Manhattans. I didn't know whether to offer you a sip. I didn't know if it could be this easy to get you, for once, to stop.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

After a dramatic pause, you said, totally serious, "I'm pregnant." And then you cracked up.

I laughed even though I didn't feel like laughing. I raised my Manhattan, tipped it a little in your direction, then asked, "Whose is it?"


abstraction, n.

Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours. It's not as if I can conjure you there completely. I must embrace the idea of you instead.


abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you've taken from me, everything I've given you, and the waste of all the time I've spent on us.


acronym, n.

I remember the first time you signed an email with SWAK. I didn't know what it meant. It sounded violent, like a slap connecting. SWAK! Batman knocking down the Riddler. SWAK! Cries of "Liar! Liar!" Tears. SWAK! So I wrote back: SWAK? And the next time you wrote, ten minutes later, you explained.

I loved the ridiculous image I got from that, of you leaning over your laptop, touching your lips gently to the screen, sealing your words to me before turning them into electricity. Now every time you SWAK me, the echo of that electricity remains.


adamant, adj.

You swore that Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Oscar for Silkwood. I said, no, it was Sophie's Choice. The way you argued with me, you would have thought we were debating the existence of God or whether or not we should move in together. These kinds of fights can never be won — even if you're the victor, you've hurt the other person, and there has to be some loss associated with that.

We looked it up, of course, and even though you conceded I was right, you still acted like it was a special occasion. I thought about leaving you then. Just for a split second, I was out the door.


akin, adj.

I noticed on your profile that you said you loved Charlotte's Web. So it was something we talked about on that first date, about how the word radiant sealed it for each of us, and how the most heartbreaking moment isn't when Charlotte dies, but when it looks like all of her children will leave Wilbur, too.

In the long view, did it matter that we shared this? Did it matter that we both drank coffee at night and both happened to go to Barcelona the summer after our senior year? In the long view, was it such a revelation that we were both ticklish and that we both liked dogs more than cats? Really, weren't these facts just placeholders until the long view could truly assert itself?

We were painting by numbers, starting with the greens. Because that happened to be our favorite color. And this, we figured, had to mean something.


alfresco, adv.

We couldn't stand the city one minute longer, so we walked right into the rent-a-car place, no reservation, and started our journey upstate. As you drove, I called around, and eventually I found us a cabin. We stopped at a supermarket and bought a week's worth of food for two nights.

It wasn't too cold out, so we moved the kitchen table outside. The breeze kept blowing out the candles, but that didn't matter, because for the first time in our relationship, there were plenty of stars above us.

The wine set the tone of our conversation — languid, tipsy, earthy.

"I love dining alfresco," you said, and I laughed a little.

"What?" you asked.

And I said, "We're not naked, silly."

Now it was your turn to laugh.

"That's not what it means," you told me. "And anyway, don't you feel naked now?"

You fell quiet, gestured for me to listen. The sound of the woods, the feel of the air. The wine settling in my thoughts. The sky, so present. And you, watching me take it all in.

Naked to the world. The world, naked to us.


aloof, adj.

It has always been my habit, ever since junior high school, to ask that question:

"What are you thinking?"

It is always an act of desperation, and I keep on asking, even though I know it will never work the way I want it to.


anachronism, n.

"I'll go get the horse and buggy," you'll say.

And I'll say, "But I thought we were taking the hovercraft!"


anthem, n.

It was our sixth (maybe seventh) date. I had cooked and you had insisted on doing the dishes. You wouldn't even let me dry. Then, when you were done, smelling of suds, you sat back down and I poured you another glass of cheapish wine. You put your legs in my lap and slouched as if we'd just had a feast for thousands and you'd been the only chambermaid on duty to clean it up.

There was a pause. I was still scared by every gap in our conversation, fearing that this was it, the point where we had nothing left to say. I was still trying to impress you, and I still wanted to be impressed by you, so I could pass along pieces of your impressiveness in stories to my friends, convincing myself this was possible.

"If you were a country," I said, "what would your national anthem be?"

I meant a pre-existing song — "What a Wonderful World" or "Que Sera, Sera" or something to make it a joke, like "Hey Ya!" ("I would like, more than anything else, for my nation to be shaken like a Polaroid picture.")

But instead you said, "It would have to be a blues song." And then you looked up at the ceiling, closed your eyes, and began to sing a blues riff:

Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
My work makes me tired
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
But I gotta pay my rent
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
My parents never loved me
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
Left all my emotions bent
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
I know what I'm here for
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
Make your dishes so clean
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
Just be careful what you wish for
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
'Cause most my shit is unseen
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
So many men
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
Fall into my trap
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
But, boy, I gotta tell you
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
You might rewrite that map
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
Because I'm a proud nation
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
It's written here on my flag
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
It's a fucked-up world, boy
Nuh-nah-nuh-nuh
So you better make me laugh


Then you stopped and opened your eyes to me. I applauded.

"Don't sit there clapping," you said. "Rub this blues singer's feet."

You never asked what my anthem was. But that's okay, because I still don't know what I'd answer.


antiperspirant, n.

"There is nothing attractive about smelling like baking powder," I said.

"Baking soda," you corrected.

"So if I want to make a pound cake, I can throw some butter, flour, and sugar into your armpit —"

"Why are we having this conversation? Remind me again?"

"You no longer smell the yeasty goodness that you apply under your arms, because you are completely used to it. I, however, feel like I am dating a Whole Foods."

"Fine," you said.

I was surprised. "'Fine'?"

"Let the record show, I have stepped onto the slippery slope of compromise in the name of promoting peace and harmony. There will be a ceremonial burning of the deodorant in ten minutes. I hope it's flammable."

"It's just that I really hate it," I told you.

"Well, I hate your toe hair."

"I'll wear socks," I promised. "All the time. Even in the shower."

"Just be warned," you said. "Someday you'll ask me to give up something I really love, and then it's going to get ugly."


antsy, adj.

I swore I would never take you to the opera again.


arcane, adj.

It was Joanna who noticed it first. We were over at her house for dinner, and she said something about being able to see the woman across the street doing yoga in the mornings, and how strange it looked when you were watching it from a distance.

"So how is Miss Torso doing?" you asked.

And I said, "Perhaps we should ask the pianist."

Joanna just looked at us and said, "It used to be that you each had your own strange, baffling references. Now you have them together."

People often say that when couples are married for a long time, they start to look alike. I don't believe that. But I do believe their sentences start to look alike.


ardent, adj.

It was after sex, when there was still heat and mostly breathing, when there was still touch and mostly thought ...it was as if the whole world could be reduced to the sound of a single string being played, and the only thing this sound could make me think of was you. Sometimes desire is air; sometimes desire is liquid. And every now and then, when everything else is air and liquid, desire solidifies, and the body is the magnet that draws its weight.


arduous, adj.

Sometimes during sex, I wish there was a button on the small of your back that I could press and cause you to be done with it already.


arrears, n.

My faithfulness was as unthinking as your lapse. Of all the things I thought would go wrong, I never thought it would be that.

"It was a mistake," you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.


autonomy, n.

"I want my books to have their own shelves," you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together.


avant-garde, adj.

This was after Alisa's show, the reverse-blackface rendition of Gone With the Wind, including songs from the Empire Records soundtrack and an interval of nineteenth-century German poetry, recited with a lisp.

"What does avant-garde mean, anyway?" I asked.

"I believe it translates as favor to your friends," you replied.


awhile, adv.

I love the vagueness of words that involve time.

It took him awhile to come back — it could be a matter of minutes or hours, days or years.

It is easy for me to say it took me awhile to know. That is about as accurate as I can get. There were sneak previews of knowing, for sure. Instances that made me feel, oh, this could be right. But the moment I shifted from a hope that needed to be proven to a certainty that would be continually challenged? There's no pinpointing that.

Perhaps it never happened. Perhaps it happened while I was asleep. Most likely, there's no signal event. There's just the steady accumulation of awhile.

CHAPTER 2

B


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.


banal, adj., and bane, n.

I am interested in the connection between these two words, and how one denotes the series of ordinary spirit-deaths that occur during a day, while the other is the full ruination, the core of the calamity.

I think we endure the banal —

"So how's your chicken?"

"I'm so tired."

"Lord, it's cold."

"Where were you?"

"Where do you want to go?"

"Have you been waiting long?"

— as a way of skirting around the bane.


barfly, n.

You have the ability to talk to anyone, which is an ability I do not share.


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.


beguile, v.

It's when you walk around the apartment in my boxers when you don't know I'm awake. And then that grin, when you do know I'm awake. You spend so much time in the morning making sure every hair is in place. But I have to tell you: I like it most like this, haphazard, sleep-strewn, disarrayed.


belittle, v.

No, I don't listen to the weather in the morning. No, I don't keep track of what I spend. No, it hadn't occurred to me that the Q train would have been much faster. But every time you give me that look, it doesn't make me want to live up to your standards.


bemoan, v.

This is dedicated to your co-worker Marilynn.

Marilynn, please stop talking about your sister's pregnancy.

And please stop showing up late.

And please stop asking my lover to drinks.

And please stop humming while you type.

I'm tired of hearing about it.


better, adj. and ad v.

Will it ever get better?

It better.

Will it ever get better?

It better.

Will it ever get better?

It better.


beware, v.

"My worse date ever?" I asked. "I don't know. I'm always amazed when the other person doesn't ask you anything about yourself. This one date — once the autobiography started, it wouldn't stop. I actually sat there, thinking, Wow, you're not going to ask me a single question, are you? And sure enough. Ten minutes. Thirty minutes. An hour. Only one subject. And it wasn't me."

"So, what did you do?" you asked.

"I just started counting. Like sheep. And when the waiter asked if we wanted to have dessert, my date started to order, and I interrupted and said I had promised a friend to walk his dog. What about you?"

"It's embarrassing."

"Tell me!"

"Okay. It was a set-up. And the minute I saw him, I was like — the attraction level was in the deep negatives. Like, I've seen sexier tree stumps. But of course you can't say that. I tried to be a better person. Then he opened his mouth and I was completely repulsed. Not only did he talk about himself all night, but he also kept cutting me off whenever I had an opinion about anything. The worst part was: I could see he was enjoying himself! So — God, I'm not proud of this. In fact, I can't believe I'm telling you this. You promise you won't think I'm a freak?"

"I won't."

"Okay. So there'd been this fly hovering over our table. I kept trying to shoo it with my hand. After awhile I was focusing on the fly more than the guy. He was getting annoyed. So the next time it came close to my face I just ... stuck out my tongue."

"Like you were a frog?"

You nodded. "Like I was a frog."

"And you caught the fly."

"Yup. Swallowed it down. It was worth it to see the look on his face. Dessert wasn't an option after that. And I was so relieved. With all due respect to the fly and its right to live, it was completely worth it."

At that point the waiter came over and asked if we needed anything else.

And you said, "I think we're going to get another round of dessert."


blemish, n.

The slight acne scars. The penny-sized, penny-shaped birth-mark right above your knee. The dot below your shoulder that must have been from when you had chicken pox in third grade. The scratch on your neck — did I do that?

This brief transcript of moments, written on the body, is so deeply satisfying to read.


bolster, v.

I am very careful whenever I know you're on the phone with your father. I know you'll come to me eventually, and we'll talk you through it. But I have to wait — you need your time. In the meantime, I'm careful what songs I play. I try to speak to you with my selections.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan. Copyright © 2011 David Levithan. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

David Levithan is the author of many acclaimed young-adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn), which was adapted into a popular movie. He is also an editorial director at Scholastic.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Hoboken, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
1972
Place of Birth:
New Jersey
Education:
B.A., Brown University, 1994

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The Lover's Dictionary 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
I'll let the description speak for itself in explaining the book, but I will say: this is a short read. I finished it in about an hour and like always, David Levithan does not disappoint. The format of The Lover's Dictionary is unlike anything I've ever read before. Short snippets of the lives of a couple are showcased through dictionary definitions. The chosen words play out in each scenario, some funny, some tender, some angry, and some a little heartbreaking. Levithan somehow captures the narrator and made me care for him. He remains nameless, as does the woman in question, but the two of them have this up and down, rollercoaster of a relationship that will get into your heart and make you feel for them. The Lover's Dictionary is not fun or lighthearted; it is real and full of aching and pain, but also the budding curiosity of new love and the hope for a forever. David Levithan is a force to be reckoned with and this book showcases that. Each page brought with it another line of inspiration or a few words that just jumped out and grabbed me. I don't even have a favorite line, I have about ten. Opening line: Aberrant, adj. "I don't normally do this kind of thing," you said. ~ pg. 3 Favorite lines (one of many): You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. Your memories will be my most lasting impression. ~ pg. 161
Catherine Poling More than 1 year ago
my vocabulary certainly grew as i read this. i was very glad to be reading on a device with a built in dictionnary. the author clearly captured all of the nuances that make this book so unique. i wanted more though....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So relatable. Reminds us all of the range of emotions and complications in a relationship
PaulGNYC More than 1 year ago
I saw David Levithan read the book tonight at Borders in NYC--a moving evening. David's passion comes through each line read, each written. I love his books, but I didn't know he was such a wonderful performer. He feels deeply as he reads, and he's hilarious when he isn't breaking your heart--no, he's hilarious when he's breaking your heart too. His is a beautiful heart, such a generous artist. The Lover's Dictionary is one of the most creative novels I've read. Alphabetized entries headed by beautiful words most of us don't take the time to speak anymore give pieces of a relationship that on one page is in devastating freefall, and then in the next entry the lovers are riding the heights. The structure is exhilarating, pulling you inside out with anticipation with each new chapter--and the chapters are short, at times only a line or two long. You want to linger on the language, but the relationship's constant ups and downs keep you moving into the next chapter. I kept thinking, Will they make it? Will their love last? It doesn't and it does--I won't spoil it for you. But having the chance to root for these two people was uplifting. The writing is gorgeous. I always feel this way about David's books, but TLD is different. It's so very poetic. With few words, the author had me hoping, wishing, wistful at times but above all laughing. So many moments in here rang true with my direct experience. That's my very favorite thing about the book: It speaks to so many of us, man, woman, gay, straight, human. It's a wonderful gift to us, to be able to see ourselves in a romance so heartfelt--and so cinematic. David's language is evocative. His characters are our friends, and I was blessed to spend time with them. Truly a lovely work of art, and a terrifically fun read too. I think it's the kind of book I might just get up the courage to read aloud with my wife--maybe after a beer or two. Thank you to David Levithan for putting the brakes on my cynicism for a night, for giving me one of the most rewarding reads I've had in a while, and to FSG for publishing such a beautiful work of art.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked it. I loved the way it told stories through the definitions of different words. This book is one I would definitely recommend reading and it is such an easy read.
LiaBooks More than 1 year ago
This is BEAUTIFUL. I wasn't expecting such an original writing style or the extent to which I would be able to connect with this. Relationships are rocky, even the good ones. There are no lack of perfect and imperfect moments, and I think this is the first time I've ever seen an even remotely good example of every side of a couple's lives together. See my full video review here: https://youtu.be/lF79S-3SH2k
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
The Lover's Dictionary is definitely one of the more differently formatted books I have ever read. It is written as if it is a dictionary. This makes each page a different word, a different definition, an different piece of the story. The Lover's Dictionary details a relationship. The ups and downs. The ins and outs. Not necessarily in order. It is actually quite brilliant if you ask me. Something I really liked about this is that the relationship could be between two anyones. A male and a female. A female and a female. A male and a male. It doesn't really matter. David Levithan writes it in a way that you just never really know. This is actually something I realized part way into the book. I realized that I just placed genders on the two individuals involved in the love story. I based them off of a passage that I misread. Then, when I went back to that particular passage, I realized that they did not say what I thought. This was actually a quite eye opening moment for me. Oh. And the ending of this story? IT TOTALLY PISSED ME OFF....but it was totally brilliant at the same time. This one is also a super quick read. You will easily have it done in a matter of hours. Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
Pros: Touching, breathtaking // Relatable in the subtlest aspects that everyone notices in relationships, but don't necessarily always put to words // Portrays love beautifully, humanly // Unusual concept of book structure, but I found it clever and very absorbing // Conveys a realistic view of a romance, as deep and exhausting as it may be—they don't always "end" like they do in books and movies // A very quick read, since each "chapter" is composed of one dictionary entry (1-2 pages each) Cons: Not a problem with the book itself, but with my inability to express with words how great it is: my review and the back cover synopsis do not do it justice! Verdict: Remarkable in ways that my own words fail to sufficiently articulate, The Lover's Dictionary is a comforting, candid, and devastating characterization of love, and the parallel irony to ever be able to adequately write about it. If I don't have you convinced, check out the corresponding Twitter page for a more succinct preview of what the book is like. David Levithan has an extensive fan base for valid reason; his grasp on the written word is adept, his understanding of the human tendency to fall in love with flaws is painfully accurate, and when his dictionary entries are pieced together, the end result is simultaneously witty and evocative. This is the kind of book I wish I could write: a subtle masterpiece and a hefty accomplishment. Rating: 10 out of 10 hearts (5 stars): I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. Drop everything and go buy yourself a copy now! Source: Purchased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was very sad. It makes you think of all the milestones and hardships in any relationship - even a successful one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i was completely uninspired it gave me something to think about
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Good little snippets of a story, excellent writing with some great quotes. The timeline makes it a little hard to follow the story, though, but it's a very simple story, so it isn't a big deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't normally read short books but this has instantly become one of my favorites. I could have read it in a day or shorter but I had to stop frequently because of how raw the emotions were and how familiar it was for me. Great read if you're getting over a break up. 
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Interesting is best described for this dictionary style love story. Told through well, dictionary words. The cover I like and just realized after finishing reading this, that we don't know the couple's name. Everything we know, from their personalities, likes, dislikes, etc, but not their names. I kind of like that in a way. So, having read the author's other works that were with Rachel Cohn, Dash and Lily and Nick Norah being my favorites so far, this one I been wanting to read, mostly for the title and the cute cover. Giving me a Love Actually vibe for some reason. It sounded cute in a way. I don't know. Anyway, an interesting, angst ridden love story with moments that you kind of like at the same time but aren't sure the exact word to describe. If that makes sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not one to write reviews but this book is the exception. By Z, I felt like I knew the unnamed characters personally. Anyone in any stage of a relationship can relate to every word. Just what I needed right now. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
The Lover's Dictionary is a cute little story told in dictionary format. This is a collection of snippets that all together make up a modern day relationship. This couple has their ups and downs, their highs and lows. Levithan captures their story nicely and I think most couples would be able to relate to some of these entries. I found this one to be a quick read, I read it in bed one morning when I wanted to delve into something light. This is a quirky, charming, sometimes sad little gem of a book that I think would appeal to the hopeless romantics out there. ...Sometimes desire is air; sometimes desire is liquid. And every now and then, when everything else is air and liquid, desire solidifies, and the body is the magnet that draws its weight.... p.18, The Lover's Dictionary, David Levithan Disclaimer: I borrowed my copy of The Lover's Dictionary from the library. This review is my honest opinion.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan is a love story of a couple told through dictionary entries.   I know this sounds odd, but it totally works.   I enjoyed the story a lot, but I had two issues, which are directly related to each other:   Did the perspectives change from male to female?  Was one person telling the story the whole time?  I got confused with that.  Second, if the male was telling a chunk of the story, well, he's just too wimpy and romantic for my taste.   Honestly, though, the dictionary entries did not take away from the story in the least.  It was such a unique way to showcase an everyday type of relationship, with its ups and downs.  What do you think about reading a book in dictionary definition form?  Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Literary_Marie More than 1 year ago
What are the right words to describe love? In this unique format, David Levithan's character describes his relationship through dictionary entries. In one word: brilliant. In this day and age of 140-character stories and short attention spans, this book told a romance story in our time. Instead of chapters, each page begins with a different word starting with letters A-Z. Each dictionary entry is a snippet of the couple's relationship: from their first kiss to the ups and downs. The story is not necessarily told in chronological order. Heck, the narrator and the couple's names aren't even revealed. But piecing together the story is the joy of it! The format kept me reading and wanting to know more about these anonymous characters and their love life. There were also lots of entries that made me go, hmmm... The Lover's Dictionary is unconventional. It is not your normal lovey-dovey story. It is word play at its finest. There were so many dictionary entries that I loved. I've shared a few throughout this review. Ponder them for just a moment, then dedicate a few hours to read The Lover's Dictionary. Literary Marie of Precision Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago