Claudia's Reviews > The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
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's review
Jan 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, 2011-book-challenge-150-books
Read from January 10 to 16, 2011

Levithan is flat-out amazing. I'm still in a daze over this book...I think what he's produced here is a series of prose-poems. I can hear his poetry in every entry. This book is ingenious: It IS a dictionary, a selective one. Starting with A and ending with Z, he tells the first-person narrative of a relationship between two people in NYC, from first date to...I'm not sure.

This story goes from 'aberrant, adj' to'zenith, n.' The nature of the entries makes the story non-linear, and non-sequential. It's a meditation, addressed to the other person in the relationship. No names, no gender...just two people in love. There's the dance of two strangers, the slow building of trust, the negotiations, the bad habits. There's the bonding in the rain, the interrogation of friends. The betrayal, the sadness, the loss, the hope.

The Lover's Dictionary is billed as an adult novel, I guess because the characters are adults and not teens. The concerns are adult, and not. The concerns are universal.

Levithan is one of the most inventive writers out there in my mind, and he's invented a whole new way to tell a story. It demands much of the reader. We need to peice the entries together in our own minds, and put faces to these two lovers. Some reviewers believe the lovers are gay, and some believe they're straight. Part of his genius is, the story works for us either way. I found myself reading some entries, believing the narrator was in love with a girl and others believing he was in love with another man. Part of the mind-blowing nature of this book.

Now I'll go back and collect all those lines of poetry I marked. and read the book again.
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Reading Progress

01/10/2011 page 25
11.85% "What a novel way to tell a story: though dictionary entries."
01/11/2011 page 74
35.07% "This is billed as an adult novel, but it's too smart for that!"

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