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3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,634 Ratings  ·  564 Reviews
Hello. I am Daniel Handler, the author of this book. Did you know that authors often write the summaries that appear on their book's dust jacket? You might want to think about that the next time you read something like, "A dazzling page-turner, this novel shows an internationally acclaimed storyteller at the height of his astonishing powers."

"Adverbs" is a novel about love
Audio CD, 8 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published April 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

It’s time for my library’s annual Winter Reading Challenge. The challenge, should I choose to accept it (duh, of course I do), is to read five books between January 20th and March 20th. Once completed I can earn myself yet another bragalicious mug for my collection . . .

Commercial Photography

Oooops, wrong mug . . .

Commercial Photography

Easy peasy lemon squeazy, right? Well, the kicker this year is the theme is “Love on the Rocks.”
Commercial Photography

Romance is not my forté. The extra kick in
Mar 01, 2007 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenna once gave me the idea of buying books from Borders and then returning them within 31 days after having read them.

The problems with that practice in my life are not ethical; they are practical:

1) I read in two- to three-months fury spurts, just like how I knit, except the reading trend is unrelated to avoiding other things in my life. Said fury spurts cannot be fabricated or induced, they just happen. I forget this, however, with great frequency, and buy fury spurts' worth of books sometime
Nov 02, 2013 Oriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007, phenomenal
This is the kind of book that makes me want to go back and take all my 5-star ratings down to 4, so that giving this one 5 will mean more.

This is the kind of book where, all while I was reading it, I was thinking about how I would read it again, more slowly, more thoughtfully, with more intense concentration.

And so I did; I read it twice through, one after the other, and good fucking grief, it is so achingly good. The second time maybe a tiny little bit less so because I already knew so many o
Mike Puma
Feb 18, 2012 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

shhhhh! This review isn’t for everyone. Neither is this book. But like this book, this review is for you—you only. Maybe you and that other guy, or the woman who contorts herself trying to see the title of what your reading and thinking no one notices her doing it. She might be a character in the story, Adverbs, but she isn’t because that would be that story, and this is this story, which isn’t a story, exactly, but it is because it’s a review…of sorts, the only type I’m in the mood to write. So

Ian Not His Real Name
Back Flips and Party Tricks

I hated the first chapter of this novel, so much so that it took almost 200 pages for me to recover and trust Daniel Handler.

Still, once it all started to come together, I did an amazing about face.

By the end, I loved “Adverbs” and felt sad that I had to leave this crazy assortment of characters behind (or was it them who left me behind?).

I didn't want the party to end.

Across the Great Divide

The first chapter concerns an unnamed apparently heterosexual male character
Jennifer (aka EM)
Three is too generous, because I'm mad - deeply mad - at you, Adverbs. You sucked away 17 days of my life for what? WHAT, I ask you? Some clever lines, repeating symbols, cutesy structure - but what the hell was this? A novel? (no) Short stories? (maybe) Intellectual masturbation, because Daniel Handler could? (probably)

By the end I was confused and annoyed, and now I'm reliving that confusion and annoyance. I confess, I've decided to abandon this one short story/chapter/ejaculation before the e
Matt Buchholz
Jul 27, 2009 Matt Buchholz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that laugh when they're told to.
Recommended to Matt by: I got myself into this mess.
As is the case with Barenaked Ladies fans and people that think Jay Leno is funny, those that like this book will be judged harshly and possibly abandoned.
Jun 17, 2016 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Wah, wah, wah! I can write grown-up books too! Myeaaaaah! Look at my big sad lumpy head in this author photo! Poor me, people think I can only write kid books, did you notice how sad I looked? Let me just go ahead and start off being self-referential, and then maybe I'll refer to that self-referentiality later and it will be SR^squared!"

I was so excited to finish this book so that a. I could never read it anymore and b. I could write this scathing review.

Tripe the First: Adverbs: A Novel. A Nov
MJ Nicholls
Apr 06, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MJ by: Oriana
Shelves: novels, merkins
Adverbs has a twisty, clever authorial voice, all-knowing and wise like the best omniscient narrators, which doesn’t really deviate from its essential Handlerness, despite inhabiting the emotional realm of his lovesick hipster personnel. But Handler handles words like a panhandler panhandles handles, or a handler handles hands: deftly, with aplomb.

Like Watch Your Mouth, Handler uses recurring images, phrases, motifs, characters, spooling them through his stylish prose with its sardonic Sorrentin
Mar 01, 2007 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like don't mind not being able to follow everything
Shelves: bookclubbook
This book looks, at first, to be a series of short stories that are titled with adverbs - Particularly, Often, etc. A cute concept that sparks some curiosity. But it really gets going when you realize that all the characters are connected, but the stories are not chronological nor are narrations always comprehensible. Sometimes Joe isn't Joe and Mike is called Mark but his name is something else, and there are 2 Andreas, or are there? A mental map is so not good enough. I would suggest writing d ...more
Brent Legault
Oct 03, 2007 Brent Legault rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old hardhats, young nuns
I've never read Handler's kid stuff but Adverbs did make me feel young again, if you don't mind that dust-smudged cliche. Not that I'm old even. And I certainly don't yearn for a lost childhood. Adverbs, the novel, or rather Adverbs: A Novel, made English over for me again, for the little while I was inside it. I had that giddy feeling I remember from my toddling times after reading my first "grown-ups" book -- that is, my first book without pictures. I don't know what that book was but it doesn ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What is love? The song suggests that ‘oh baby don’t hurt me’ so does that mean is love about pain? I think that this is probably not the impression you want to give… unless you are into that sort of thing, which most women 15-65 seem to be if this is so popular.

Love is…

Well, when I was young, I used to think that this represented love.

[image error]

I’m not sure that that is so healthy either, but I had a ton of them.. they were my ‘go to’ I guess…

When I google ‘Love is’ I get this comic strip
Dec 07, 2007 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the whole wide world
Shelves: fiction
David Handler is brilliant. This book compiles a bunch of stories involving characters who are intimately or barely connected to each other. Each chapter is a short story but the characters become so intertwined that it feels like a novel. The theme of this book? Love, love, and more love. But it aint what you think. This isn't a cheesy and cliche book about the heart to heart, folks. This is a book about every kind of love, from the obvious to the mysterious. I think that when I am done reading ...more
Christopher Allen
As if this book needed another review . . .

Thousands of readers apparently either love or hate this book or feel something in between too. Love is like this. Sometimes it feels a lot like hate or something in between, and that's OK.

Adverbs is a loosely knit chain of modifiers. Everything is so unrelated in its relatedness. And it's all about love . . . and people, people with similar names and a volcano or a man-made disaster, maybe. Some will see this absurd romp as the work of a genius; some
Reading this book is like looking at things at the bottom of a swimming pool. You can't hear very much, or touch them without closing your eyes and holding your breath, and the outlines keep changing and at any rate you're never sure how far away they are, but they're pretty in a fascinating sort of a way. They keep changing, and you can't get a hand on what they actually are or they're meant to represent, so all you can do is look at the shapes and how they keep fluctuating and irregularly morp ...more
Jul 25, 2007 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is a novel about love," says the back cover. Well, it's half right. It is about love, but calling it a novel is a bit of a stretch. The book has no central character or plot, just a series of stories, sometimes connected, about a bunch of different people who sometimes pop up in each others' stories. I think maybe someone might say that love is the main character, but having a main character who's schizophrenic and/or prone to wild mood swings is a difficult task to pull off without a plot ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate adverbs, but there was something intriguing about this collection of stories written by the author of the Lemony Snicket books. Unfortunately, this is one of those books that aspires to be something more than it is. While I like the interconnectedness of the stories, I couldn't help feeling like I'd seen this trick somewhere before...and executed less self-consciously. Anyone whose read Series of Unfortunate Events is aware of the author's insistence on always keeping one foot in the stor ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Shauna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Lemony Snicket's weird ways. And when I saw this in the library, I figured I would love Daniel Handler's weird ways as well. And I did, for the most part. This book is more a series of short stories, with familiar characters and themes resurfacing in nearly every chapter. It's hard to keep track of everyone, and I'd very much like to map out which character does what and appears where, but it's made clear even in the jacket copy that things are pretty ambiguous, and that one Andrea here m ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am utterly and totally confused by this book. To start off this review, I think a quote from the author about this book would be appropriate.

Quoth Handler "Yes, there's a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting." And there is a volcano in the novel, it seems to be one of his favorite things to talk about. In addition to this there is an abundance of birds, alcohol, and taxis.

I'd like to provide a timeline and a list of characters but the story
Mar 30, 2008 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I became interested in this book after reading a rave review by a user on this very website (Hey! It works!). I picked the book up yesterday and have already finished it. That never happens with me. Generally there at least 20 naps taken between covers. As you will see if you read any other reviews this "novel" is more a series of intertwined vignettes. All stories about love framed in chapters named after various adverbs: Immediately, Briefly, Obviously, Clearly, Naturally, etc. Also, if you've ...more
Jul 26, 2007 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: quirky friends
Shelves: 2007reads
funny, wordsmithy, delightfully quirky. i like the occasionally intruding author's voice ("those are my wife's favorite cookies") in the lives of the characters -- kinda kundera-like in that way. the music references were fun, and i like the mixing of real bands and songs with made-up ones. but there was an authorial distance, a real arms-length narration the whole way through -- sometimes overly clever, snickety, let's have a looksee at what our hapless little characters are doing -- that preve ...more
Jul 14, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read The Basic Eight and a few of the volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I picked this up for a light and absorbing plane-read on my way to a funeral. I was thrilled, then, to find it both unexpectedly poignant and powerful. Handler's easygoing and conversational voice effortlessly masks true linguistic prowess, allowing me to read his stories as breezily or as pensively as I chose. Truly a book of linked short stories, rather than a "novel" as the back cover suggests, the ...more
Evan David
Aug 30, 2014 Evan David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A proper summary of this whole book is as follows:

"It is not the diamonds or the birds, the people or the potatoes; it is not any of the nouns. The miracle is the adverbs, the way things are done. It is the way love gets done despite every catastrophe [...] attractively, artfully, aggressively..."

-Daniel Handler, Adverbs, p. 194.

I have mixed feelings about this book! Though, the mix of my feelings is mostly positive, with just a few dashes of uncertainty and confusion and mild disappointment. S
Nick Kives
I disliked the book early on, and grew to like it more and more with the weird connection to other stories as i read on. I like this book more for its attempt at trying something a little different than the actually follow through. I'm just not sure if I'm a fan of Handler's writing style (will have to read another to really know I guess).
Jul 23, 2007 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2007
A self-indulgent, unreadable, too-clever-for-its-own good failure from the author of the Lemony Snicket series.

One is reminded of Sir Arthur Sullivan, who is said to have been unhappy his entire life, dismissing the success of all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, mourning his failure to succeed with more "serious" composition.
Sarah Jamison
Dec 15, 2012 Sarah Jamison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can I give this less than one star? Adverbs? I have nouns: crap, nonsense, onanism. I have adjectives: rambling, tedious, juvenile. I have better things to do than waste time on this book and so do you.
Jun 12, 2014 G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would actually give it 2.5 stars, but I'm going for 3 because at the beginning I was loving it so much I just wanted to scream. Sofia told me that this is her least favorite book by Handler because it's so inconsistent in quality, and I'll have to agree. Inconsistency is the key word for this book. Some of the stories are so good you might as well feel like they were something you needed in your life. But others are just so dull and pointless and not even in a poetic way. I don't even know. Wh ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I don't generally write reviews, but this book disappointed me to the degree that I feel compelled to write one anyway. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised I managed to make it to the end.

One thing that drove me insane was how difficult it was to follow which characters were belonged where, and how they were connected to each other. The author drops these hints as to who someone is- a girl mentioned in passing in one passage suddenly receives a central role in another. Little tidbits like this make y
Martine Peacock
A reviewer on the front cover writes: "Anyone who lives to read gorgeous writing will want to lick this book and sleep with it between their legs." Well, I can think of many other things I'd rather sleep with between my legs than this book!

At first, I didn't realise this is a novel rather than a series of short stories. Hell knows what the plot is; maybe there isn't one. The chapters seem disjointed. Half the time you don't know whose the "voice" is. Where names reoccur, you're not sure if they
Jul 16, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emma by: Alex
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely adore this book. "Immediately" was so far from what I expected - although I'm not sure what I expected exactly, but it wasn't that - I had to keep stopping reading because it was so odd. It's not the sort of story collection one thinks of when one imagines a book about love. I was confused, surprised, nearly shocked into tears (which is quite exceptional, because I can count on my hands the number of times fiction had made me cry), laughed uncontrollably, and essentially covered an ...more
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Quotable quotes. 3 51 Dec 27, 2007 06:45AM  
  • The Brutal Language of Love: Stories
  • The Varieties of Romantic Experience
  • Demons in the Spring
  • Forest Gate: A Novel
  • This Too Can Be Yours
  • Honeymoon: And Other Stories
  • Tourist Season: Stories
  • Horseradish
  • McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories
  • One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box: Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, and Minor Robberies
  • Trailerpark
  • The Withdrawal Method
  • Throw Like a Girl
  • Tumble Home: A Novella and Short Stories
  • The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
  • Jenny and the Jaws of Life: Short Stories
  • Babylon Rolling
  • Outside Providence
Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs and, most recently, the Michael J. Printz Honor-winning Why We Broke Up, a collaboration with noted illustrator Maira Kalman. He also worked with Kalman on the book Girls Standing on Lawns and Hurry Up and Wait (May 2015). Under the name Lemony Snicket he has written the best-selling books series All The Wrong Qu ...more
More about Daniel Handler...

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“Someone can break your heart, leave you dead on the lawn, and still you never learn what to say to stop it all over again. ” 104 likes
“How do you forget something? You just walk away from it, those who are still alive. There are so few clearings in our hearts and minds, so few places where something can't grow on top of whatever happened to us before, and this is love too. ” 97 likes
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