Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Title: The Lover's Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Year Published: 2011

Genre: YA fiction (romance)
Pages: 211
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2016 Google Reading map)USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the back of the book): Basis, n. There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself. If the moment doesn't pass, that's it--you're done.

And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover's face.

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.

Review: David Levithan won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association this year. It honors an author for his/her lifetime of work and his/her significant and lasting contribution to youth lit. I chose to read this book on the recommendation of a librarian friend and she did not steer me wrong!

What a very clever idea. The reading on each page ranges from one sentence to a full page and each page corresponds to a different word, laid out in alphabetical order. Each letter has many words. The word defines what that page is about, but each page reveals part of this couple's relationship from how they met to two years into the relationship.

The reader experiences the highs, the lows, the inner thoughts, the fights, and the insecurities. Even though we're only hearing one side of it all, I feel like I got to know both characters. And it feels so real. And intimate. As if we've really been inside the relationship with them.

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