When people ask me how I'd rate The Lover's Dictionary, what I say is this;
'Throw all the rating systems out of the window, because there is no way yoWhen people ask me how I'd rate The Lover's Dictionary, what I say is this;
'Throw all the rating systems out of the window, because there is no way you can capture the emotional magnitude of this novel in a single number. If you could, the rating would be approximately 1000000∞/10.'
This book reads like a diary of sorts - a universal diary that, in spite of talking about the nature of love in general, manages to be so specific at the same time that you kind of feel like calling the cops on David Levithan and getting him a restraining order for his birthday, because how did he get inside your head like that?
For me, literally every single one of the dictionary entries in this dictionary-style unconventional novel struck a chord in my heart - every single one of them moved me the way Titanic moves me, the way my dog dying moved me, the way loving someone moves you. There is something so profound, so poignant about all the emotions and feelings adressed in this book, it just gets to you. It gets to you and it stays with you way beyond the last page.
My personal favourite quotes;
"We have fallen through the surface of want and are deep in the trenches of need."
"Who came up with the term cheating anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought 'liar' was too harsh. Someone who thought 'devastator' was too emotional.The same person who thought, oops, he'd gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you. This isn't about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our live.s You are so much worse than a cheater, You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned."
"It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can't even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better or worse. It's simply a matter of 'is' and 'is no longer'."
"I have already spent roughly five-thousand hours asleep next to you. That has to mean something."
"Sometimes I am struck with a kind of awe that we're together. That someone like me could find someone like you - it renders me wordless. Because surely words would conspire against such luck, would protest the unlikelihood of such a turn of events."
"The slight acne scars. The penny-sized, penny-shaped birthmark right above your knee. The dot below your shoulder that must have been from when you had chicken pox in third grade. The scratch on your neck - did I do that? This brief transcript of moments, written on the body, is so deeply satisfyingly to read."
"The nape of your neck. Even the sound of the word 'nape' sounds holy to me. That and the hollow of your neck, the peek of your chest that your shirt sometimes reveals. These are the stations of my quietest, most insistent desire."
**spoiler alert** I feel like I sound almost repetitive in saying this because so many have gone before me to say the exact same thing, but I have to**spoiler alert** I feel like I sound almost repetitive in saying this because so many have gone before me to say the exact same thing, but I have to say it nonetheless; the book thief is incredible.
I'm not usually one to read war/holocaust novels - they tend to get me down a little and be so riddled with historical facts that the enjoyment is lost for me. The Book Thief, however, feels more like a young adult novel with themes of war and anti-semitism than an actual war novel, which is one of the many things I love about it.
I love the concept of the main character being a stealer of books (hence the title) and how the books she steals throughout The Book Thief all have a significance in the story; interconnectivity of books and stories and narratives is generally a theme I very much enjoy. Also, when I first found out about the book, the fact that it is narrated by a personification of Death seemed to me a little gothic and a little too easy to hit and miss. However, Zusak does it well and writes Death in a way that almost makes you forget he is a bad guy. In his own words; 'I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.'
While Death narrates, the main character of the novel is the girl whose life story he tells; Liesel, a young jew in hiding with a German family. Her losses and sacrifices due to the war and her religion/race play a part, but not overbearingly so. The novel is poignant in its grief and the heaviness of the situations described in it, and yet manages to be light to read and, for me personally, left me feeling more touched and liberated rather than oppressed and depressed upon finishing it. Somehow, Zusak manages to make you feel a very sad but heartfelt brand of happiness when you reach the end of his novel, in spite of the many deaths. A truly remarkable feat.
I have to mention my two favourite scenes, hence the spoiler alert; when Liesel and Max reunite in the march, and when Liesel finally, despairingly, confesses her love for Rudy. Heartbreakingly beautiful. I won't go into any more detail and blabber on and on, because honestly, I can't do The Book Thief justice in any review no matter how long I make it. You simply have to read it yourself....more