Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
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.
Full disclosure: I might have blinders on where this author is concerned because every book of his that I've read, I've loved... (Nick and Norah, Dash and Lily, the Will Graysons even Naomi and Ely were all wonderful reads!) With Lover's Dictionary, I didn't know what I was getting into. But good golly, that was different... and refreshing!
It tackled what's familiar from all the possible angles. One need not strain one's imagination to see how a word applied, because it just DID. Each entry showed a different facet, a different stage of being in a relationship. Tina uses the phrase word play to describe it. And indeed it was as Levithan's reduces it to its essentials~ sometimes hitting it square on the end, other times oversimplifying matters, but mostly coming across as accurate and humorous.
Succintly putting each aspect/facet/stage of the experience into a word, one word. I thought Lover's Dictionary SMART, FUNNY at times, but definitely DIFFERENT. Is it gimmicky? Is it cutesy? Not at all! I've grown used to boy-girl headoverheels/ troublerunsdeep stories, this slim volume is none of those things *thank gosh!* It hit aspects of relationships head on. I really enjoyed it!