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.
Per usual, this story by David Levithan is wonderfully written. Despite enjoying that, I didn't fall in love with this book. I wanted to, but it just didn't happen.
Written in an unconventional way, there's no clear beginning, middle, and end to the story. It jumps around a lot, which makes sense with the way it was written, but I prefer my books to be clear on where we are in the timeline of things. If it's a flashback, great, but let me know it's a flashback. I still, by the end of the story, wasn't sure where things stood. I realize that the story itself isn't the main point of the book. I think it's more of a study of the relationship, picking it apart and trying to describe things that are typically indescribable. Once I got past the wanting of a typical story I was able to enjoy it much more than I had been (this was about 1/3 of the way through).
I did enjoy the characters, despite being nameless. I like how everything was told from his point of view and that's all we got. We have no idea what was going on in her head/heart, only his. I actually liked that for this one. I liked getting glimpses into their relationship and seeing how things unfolded, even if it wasn't told in the usual way.
If you read it, my favorite entry was probably "livid". For no reason other than the sheer emotion emanating from the page. Levithan is masterful sometimes.
I'd recommend it with the disclaimer that I didn't love it but that it's still a good read.
Have you read it? Want to read it? :)