A Review: David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary

I happened upon this gem when I visited the library this past weekend.  Actually, I was quite surprised to see it sitting on the shelf of the "new fiction" section as I believed it to be quite popular and a rather new release.  Lucky me.  In a little over an hour after I picked it up, I was finished and ready to start again.
healthy, adj.
There are times when I'm alone that I think, This is it. This is actually the natural state.  All I need are my thoughts and a small act of creation and my ability to go or do whatever I want to go or do.  I am myself, and that is the point.  Pairing is a social construction.  It is by no means necessary for everyone to do it.  Maybe I'm better like this. Maybe I could live my life in my own world, and then simply leave it when it's time to go.  
Levithan brings the reader a short tale of one couple's relationship through a single narrator.  Unlike other tales of romance, the entire story is told in the form of a dictionary, with a series of short paragraphs that reflect a designated word. Moving through the English Alphabet, Levithan masters the struggles of a relationship as it grows and transforms, moves past the initial period of intense passion and the unfamiliar.  He eloquently captures those awkward first moments, and all those in between that define a relationship between two individuals. While this tale was somewhat heartbreaking, I found myself taken with the attentive nature of the narrator while he seemed to be able to spout, quite endlessly, little idiosyncrasies of his nameless partner.
ineffable, adj.
These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey.  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.  

For those who enjoy exploring the English language, and those who think they would enjoy a new approach to an old subject, I highly recommend The Lover's Dictionary.  I might add that I absolutely adore the cover art on this one. 


  1. I am glad you liked this one! It is definitely one of my favorites from this year.

  2. I've heard a lot about this...I'll have to pick it up! Looks like a great read.

  3. This is the second review I've read of this book today! I think it's a sign I need to go get it :) Thanks for posting.

  4. This is intriguing...thanks for sharing...

  5. I read this one earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I'm glad you did too!

  6. This little diddy sounds delightful! I read one or two other reviews, but yours is the first that makes me want to read it. Thanks :)

  7. Glad I could share this with everyone. I really suggest this as a quick Summer read. Happy to hear that so many others enjoyed this title as well!

  8. This is definitely in my top reads of 2011. I love that Levithan can do so much with so few words. Each entry demands a lot of the reader, and I'm sure on a re-read I'd discover even more. Glad you enjoyed this one too!

  9. I've heard great things about this one and I can't wait to read it.
    I love the way the book is composed, it's really interesting.


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