Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jamie Reviews The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover's Dictionary: A NovelI was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well...and because it was about loooove. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David's novels I'd feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover's Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:

ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. 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."

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"

placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan's delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I'd recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don't mind something different and who don't need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.

Originally posted on my personal book blog -- The Perpetual Page-Turner


  1. This WAS a delightful and unique book. I just decided to reread it. Thanks for the reminder of how much I liked it.

  2. I just picked this up from the library because I get to see David Levithan in November at YAllfest! I can't wait to get to this book (I read in the order I checked the books out) because I've already flipped through and read a couple of pages. He's such an amazing author!

  3. Thanks for the great review! Everytime I go to the bookstore, I see this book and debate if it's worth buying or not. After reading your review, I think it will so be worth it! Thanks!

  4. I have yet to read a David Levithan book! But The Lovers Dictionary sounds like a great first book to get me started on him. :)

  5. I feel like a dork because I'm always looking for this book in the YA section of the library. I've never even looked in the computer to check and see if it could possibly be in the adult section. But I do want to read it, so next time I go there I should do that.


  6. This was one of my favorite books of the year, too!

  7. Oooh, thanks for an awesome review of this. I don't think I'd heard of it before, but it is now on my TBR list.

  8. Such a great book. I checked it out from the library, and after I finished it I immediately went out and bought myself a copy.

  9. Wow, I have never heard of this book. It sounds like it would be a very unique read! Thanks for reviewing it; now I know I need to check it out!


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