Author: David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary Literature
Publisher: Farrer, Straus and Giroux
Summary: 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 outselves? 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.
The Dish: When it comes to writing in a fresh and unique way, I'd have to say David Levithan takes one of the top prizes. How many would think to write a story in the form of a dictionary? I definitely commend Levithan for delivering such a story that made for quick and enjoyable reading.
That being said, while it was a fresh manner in composing a story, it did have a few confusing moments. At times it felt as though the narrator was backtracking in the story, but I didn't always know where this train of thought was backtracking to in the timeline. I felt this sometimes disrupted the overall flow of the story, but that could have been Levithan's point. Life and relationships cannot be viewed as completely linear. There are always bumps and caveats we hit on the road.
The narrator appeared to be a very sensitive soul, and when they connected with their partner, I could feel the open warmth between them. When some issue arose (usually involving an infidelity), it was clear how hurt both characters were. In spite of this infidelity (or infidelities?) the two never seemed to break apart from each other despite their bumps in the relationship road. Who knows where they will be in the end because relationships are always changing.
I thought The Lover's Dictionary was a great means of telling a story about life, love, and the trials people encounter while traversing both. While I'm not sure that I would read it again, I would say it is worth checking out from the library.