The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan

“Candid, adj.
‘Most times, when I’m having sex, I’d rather be reading.’
This was, I admit, a strange thing to say on a second date. I guess I was just giving you a warning.
‘Most time when I’m reading,’ you said, ‘I’d rather be having sex.’”
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. (taken from Goodreads)

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I have wanted to read this one for some time now and Im really glad I did. Its not really YA… It basically the relationship of two people told through word “definitions” and it explores the feelings of them getting together, moving in together and the shock of events of their relationships told through the male of the couples perspective.
I really enjoyed the book, it was very true to life, the way things happed when you move in with someone, the little tiny things that you pick up on when your in love and stuff like that. The quote I’ve picked above was the funniest I think of the whole book but I found myself nodding along at a few of the things that came up.
There’s a great deal of detachment from this book to the reader… the way its told means that you don’t really get a sense of the characters in the way you usually do but you still pick up on certain things and I really enjoyed it. The book isn’t linear either with bits skipping backwards and forwards to different places in the relationship but I guess the outcome is unveiled in a linear way really… I really enjoyed the play on words and the things that happened.
I will be honest though. Whilst I enjoyed the book and it was a quick read I’m not sure how much of it went over my head. I found certain words that were chosen for the “definitions” a bit confusing and even pretentious. I didn’t connect with the book in the way I like to and I found myself not understanding how the “definitions” matched with the words in places… sometimes they made perfect sense but others they really didn’t, not to me anyway… maybe I’m just dumb?!
Anyway, I enjoyed the parts of the books I understood and I really actually found the format interesting! I would recommend this one for a quick read of anyone who’s into their words! I am a bit of a word geek and I found myself giggling at certain things that I know others wouldn’t! Its a cute story as well, once you get the whole of it.
The Lover’s Dictionary was released in February 2011 by Fourth Estates in the US but is available in the UK too. My copy was purchased via the kindle store.
  • I’ve just finished this one too – I agree, an unusual and enjoyable read. I’m with you on the definition thing – I found myself skipping the actual words and going straight for the entry/definition and then feeling really guilty about it as he obviously spend a lot of effort picking the right word! Oh well…

  • I follow lover’s dictionary on twitter…always retweeting those definitions. Should probably get to reading the book, right?
    Rawr (LOVE that).

  • I love that quote 🙂 Hehe! This sounds like an interesting way to write a book, but it’s probably not my thing!

  • I have a copy of this on my Kindle and I can’t wait to read it! It sounds amazing and I love David Levithan, so yay! Thanks for the lovely review 🙂