Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

"Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough."
The Lover's Dictionary is the first adult novel by David Levithan, the author behind young adult books such as Boy Meets Boy and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, which I'd previously enjoyed. The novel is a completely unique concept- a love story told through dictionary entries- and it is one I had been greatly looking forward to. The first entry of the book involves the nameless male narrator meeting his genderless love for the first time, but after that the entries are alphabetical but not chronological. On one page he may be deeply falling in love, while on the next he discovers his lover has cheated. In this way Levithan perfectly captures the ups and down of love. Each entry is it's perfect little story, two of my favourite examples are:
autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together.

corrode, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.
The Lover's Dictionary is fairly short, especially when you consider that there is quite a bit of blank space on many of the pages, and yet it poignantly captures not only the feelings of falling in love, but what exactly comes after. Levithan deals with issues such as alcoholism and infidelity and the role they can play in a relationship. The love Levithan is writing about does not restrict itself to a specific gender or person, which is part of the reason I appreciated that both main characters remained nameless, and although the narrator was male his lover was not mentioned by gender, in this way the universal nature of The Lover's Dictionary is made clear.

The Lover's Dictionary is such a perfect little powerful book. The concept itself is extremely creative, but it never comes across as gimmicky, as the reader is so taken into the love story that Levithan has written. Many of the words used are ones I actually had to look up in the dictionary, only to be in awe of how well the descriptions used in this book captured them. I figure it is only appropriate to end this review with a definition of my own: 

The Lover's Dictionary, book.
A wistful and poetic short novel on a universal topic by David Levithan, easily recommended to anyone who knows what it is like to fall in love. Worth reading, worth sharing. 

Release Date: January 4th, 2011
Pages: 224
: 5/5

Source: Publisher
Buy the Book


  1. I'm really excited to read this! That's a really awesome definition you did :D

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  2. @Nina- I'm sure you'll love it. And I was totally slightly inspired by your creative review formats even if that was a pretty pathetic attempt.

  3. This is the first I've heard of The Lover's Dictionary! I've really enjoyed the few novels I've read in which Levithan has had a hand, and the format for this one is absolutely intriguing. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention -- it's going onto my TBR list right now!

  4. I love David Levithan's writing. It's sooo good.

  5. The Lover's Dictionary is an exploration of love relationships of the romantic kind, for better or for worse.


Your comments make my day!