Book: The Lover’s Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary

One of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. A novel in the form of a dictionary. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

reservation, n.

There are times when I worry that I’ve already lost myself. That is, that my self is so inseparable from being with you that if we were to separate, I would no longer be. I save this thought for when I feel the darkest discontent. I never meant to depend so much on someone else.

It’s true when they say that every word in the dictionary has some sort of significance, especially when it comes to love. As David Levithan has proven, one can tell a beautiful love story just by using a single word as a reference point, as a jumping point. Each excerpt in this book is wonderfully crafted to show us the meaning of the word.

Naturally the story jumps back and forth, and it can be confusing in the beginning when trying to identify this nameless protagonist. However it is all worth it, and there’s a surprising amount that we learn about this relationship, going through it’s ups and downs, watching how the relationship progresses and reminiscing on our own.

From behind the wheel, I learn the difference between a eulogy and an elegy, and discover which is more vital, in life and in death.

I really love the concept of this book, it’s right up my alley of using different structures and ways to tell a story. Some of the words chosen are not what you would expect in a book about love, and yet each and every word is just so perfectly described within the context of the relationship. I really appreciated how love (n) was the only word that was left unexplained. To me, that was exactly how love really feels and just fit the rest of the book.

Of course the lover’s dictionary would not be complete without some conflict and tension in the relationship. These were handled masterfully and I was really impressed.

dispel, v.

It was the way you said, “I have something to tell you.” I could feel the magic drain from the room.

There are some entries that seem to be repeated. The same text for different words, yet each text adds a new layer of understanding and  each add a new sentence to that text, drawing out the moment, prolonging that particular scene that plays between lovers. It is ingenious simply because it was done so masterfully. It managed to create this tension of not knowing, of cutting off the reader and making us wait in agony (just like the protagonists) for what is to happen next. At first I was confused, but when I reached the end, I realized that it was quite a piece of work.

The lover’s dictionary is a novel that can be easily enjoyed by anyone. For someone like me, who doesn’t usually like romance, this was amazing. I don’t know if I want to read the rest of David Levithan’s books, but this I am going to buy.


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