Jenn(ifer)'s Reviews > The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
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May 15, 13

bookshelves: you-should-read-this, read-in-2012, own
Read from December 28, 2011 to January 01, 2012

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A MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXh4QQ...


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re•view [ri-vyoo] noun
1. a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.

I really wish I had had the mental energy to review this book back when I finished it, but I just wasn’t in the right psychic place to do so at the time. I read it soon after finishing AM/PM, and it fit right in with that sort of flash-fiction vibe I was gravitating toward at the time. This is a love story (duh) told in the briefest of chapters, each chapter meandering its way through the alphabet beginning with a word from the dictionary. I found myself, pen in hand, underlining all of the passages that spoke to me, all of the passages that I had lived in some way or another in my past.

“livid, adj.

Fuck You for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. 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 lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned.”


By the end, I had underlined over two-thirds of the book. It’s exhilarating when you relate to a book and walk away feeling "hey there’s someone else out there who gets it, who has been where I have been." But it can be temporarily damaging when you are reminded of all of the sadness and losses of the past.

“Ubiquitous, adj.
When it’s going well, the fact of it is everywhere. It’s there in the song that shuffles into your ears. It’s there in the book you’re reading. It’s there on the shelves of the store as you reach for a towel and forget about the towel. It’s there as you open the door. As you stare off into the subway, it’s what you’re looking at. You wear it on the inside of your hat. It lines your pockets. It’s the temperature. The hitch, of course, it that when it’s going badly, it’s in all the same places.”


There were times when I wanted to smack the narrator to his senses. “You’re being pathetic!,” I’d internally scream. “Who are you, Jeffrey Brown? Toughen up!” But then there were times when I’d sympathize with him.

“awhile, adv.
I love the vagueness of words that involve time. 'It took him awhile to come back' - it could be a matter of minutes or hours, days or years. It is easy for me to say it took me awhile to know. That is about as accurate as I can get. There were sneak previews of knowing, for sure. Instances that made me feel, oh, this could be right, But the moment I shifted from a hope that needed to be proven to a certainty that would be continually challenged? There's no pinpointing that. Perhaps it never happened. Perhaps it happened while I was asleep. Most likely, there's no signal event. There's just the steady accumulation of 'awhile'.”


I felt like I was reading his diary, that’s how intimate it was at times. Except someone had torn out all of the pages and shuffled them up. By the end, though, you really get a complete picture of all facets of this particular relationship.

Love can be a glorious, painful, joyful, messy thing.
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich This seems interesting, and quite inventive. The comparison to AM/PM sold me. The National, awesome choice!


message 2: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M Nice touch with the National; they get the goosebumps going like nothing else. And I've been thinking of adding songs to all my reviews. They can set the mood very nicely.


Jenn(ifer) s.penkevich wrote: "This seems interesting, and quite inventive. The comparison to AM/PM sold me. The National, awesome choice!"

I think you would enjoy this. It's not "great literature" but it's a good read on a summer's day.


Jenn(ifer) Stephen M wrote: "Nice touch with the National; they get the goosebumps going like nothing else. And I've been thinking of adding songs to all my reviews. They can set the mood very nicely."

Thanks! I love to spread the National love around. I would like to add songs to my reviews too.. but would prefer to embed the videos rather than using links. I just can't seem to figure out how to do it!


message 5: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M I don't think that Goodreads lets you do that. It's too bad because I would like to as well.


Jenn(ifer) Stephen M wrote: "I don't think that Goodreads lets you do that. It's too bad because I would like to as well."

I'm angrily shaking my fist at the screen. Darn you GR!


message 7: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M I wonder if it has ever been brought up on the discussion threads. Might be worth checking out.


message 8: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/6...

Looks like this person got shot down pretty bad about it.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Paganus Stephen M wrote: "Nice touch with the National; they get the goosebumps going like nothing else. And I've been thinking of adding songs to all my reviews. They can set the mood very nicely."

Just listening to Bloodbuzz Ohio, wondering whether he sounds like Johnny Cash. I must check out this band.


Jenn(ifer) Ian wrote: "Stephen M wrote: "Nice touch with the National; they get the goosebumps going like nothing else. And I've been thinking of adding songs to all my reviews. They can set the mood very nicely."

Just ..."


I have no doubt that you will love them Ian.


message 11: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M Sorrow, Brainy, Slow Show and England break my heart every time.


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Paganus The only thing that had held me back was the Joy Division influence. I only have an e.p. Mistaken for Strangers.


message 13: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle I like painful, joyful, messy things. I must like this book then!


message 14: by s.penkevich (last edited May 14, 2013 10:03AM) (new)

s.penkevich Have you been rereading all the Amelia Gray type novels lately, like the Nutting, to see if they still hold up?


Jenn(ifer) s.penkevich wrote: "Have you been rereading all the Amelia Gray type novels lately, like the Nutting, to see if they still hold up?"

not exactly -- mostly I've just been editing some of my old reviews


message 16: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Ah gotcha, I was excited because I was going to say that we should totally re-read AM/PM. I have a feeling that one will still hold up.


Jenn(ifer) s.penkevich wrote: "Ah gotcha, I was excited because I was going to say that we should totally re-read AM/PM. I have a feeling that one will still hold up."

yes, let's do it!


message 18: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Huzzah!


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