Top positive review
A sad yet hopeful, raw and incredibly clever little book about love.
on May 28, 2013
I was fortunate enough to hear David Levithan speak about how he came up with the idea for the book at last year's National Bookfest. A love story told solely via dictionary entries?! As a Valentine's Day present for friends?! Count me in!The concept was so unique that I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. And I did. And I read the entire thing in a single sitting. On my lunch hour. At work. That's how quick, easy and engaging this book is. I'm kinda kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. So yeah, now I guess I'm a lover of love.
The Lover's Dictionary is not only unique in how it tells the story but also because we never really get to know the subjects of whom it's about. I mean, we get to see some of the most personal and intimate segments of their relationship, but there are no names or descriptions of the couple to be found. At first, this was kind of distracting because I spent so much time trying to put faces to these people, but after awhile, I realized that it didn't matter. Your focus turns solely to the relationship and the internal dialogue of the narrator instead of the usual details that anchor down a story. You stop thinking about the people and start thinking about the love drives them. And that's where the genius of the book lies --- in its simplicty.
Visa vie small passages, The Lover's Dictionary reveals anecdotes of love, both the good kind and the bad, narrated by one half of this couple. These snippets are not in chronological order but each entry touches on the mundane and the special moments between the two. We're shown the various stages of their relationship --- from the butterflies of a first kiss to the irksome habits that go hand in hand with living with someone --- and in a way, each and every one of these moments was relatable to me. We've all be there in some way at some point in our lives. I know I've experienced the nagging doubts as well as the euphoria that accompanies a new relationship. And that's what makes the story so compelling. It felt like Levithan was in my head, putting every feeling I've ever had in just about every relationship right down there on that page... only much more eloquently.
And though we get to see the many wonderful things that go along with being in a relationship, this book isn't all sunshine and rainbows. In addition to the good, we're privy to the bad. There's nagging self doubt, betrayals of the worst kind, hardships to endure and that unfiltered emotion that plagues the narrator. It's a very real, very raw, uncensored look inside the narrator's head as we go through the various stages of the relationship. And while it might not always be pleasant, while it might conjure up some tough memories from my own past, it was unfaltering and honest. We learn that love can sometimes be fleeting but it is also complex and oh so worth it.
Food for Thought: The Lover's Dictionary is a sad yet hopeful, raw and incredibly clever book about love and relationships. It's simple and compelling and heartbreaking and swoony all at the same time. The book is compact and easy to read. In fact, it reads more like a short story than a novel, cutting out all the nonsense and shooting straight for the core. For such a fighter, this book definitely made a lover out of me.