K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
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did not like it
bookshelves: short-stories, stylist, tfg-100
Recommended to K.D. by: Angus Miranda

Read this book only when you are in love or you are in love with love.

I was neither both when I read this in one sitting last Saturday. Then last night, I happened to catch some scenes of the Korean movie Love Phobia at Cinema One. Korean filmmakers have been producing excellent, i.e., very sensitive, love stories that are much attuned to Filipino’s notion of love. That’s maybe one of the reasons why we patronize not only their movies but also their many television series.

That movie put me in the right perspective about this book. It reminded me to love the idea of loving. Had I not seen the movie, I would have not liked this book, i.e., meaning 1-star rating.

There are at least a couple of books about love that this could not compare to: Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving for its clinical analysis of the nature of love and Alain de Botton’s On Love for its funny airplane cabin representation, complete with mathematical equation, of the probability of love occurring up in the air. This book, The Lover’s Dictionary is lame compared to the two. Even his small anecdotes on the what he thinks love is, pales in comparison with Eros Atalia’s Wag Lang Di Makaraos where the local author used “dagli” (short-short stories) that touches your heart as it tackles personal, social and moral everyday issues in Philippine setting. For me, Leviathan is a lazy writer. He did not even arrange the short stories in order. I thought that it would have been more interesting if he challenged himself by beginning his story with boy-meets-girl starting with letter “A” then the story (or snippets of it) transforms and blooms into a full love story that ends with separation with letter “Z.” I just felt that he could not do this so he jumped from one letter to another using one that suited his rambling scattered thoughts.

What is this use of toothpaste cap as a proof of loving a woman? I’ve been married for 18 years and I heard this even prior to my wedding day. So, I always made sure, each day of my life for the past 18 years, that I put the cap back to the tube. Good that right after I got married, all the toothpaste manufacturers changed to snap cap (the cap does not need to part with the tube). So, I am surprised that Leviathan still used this analogy in this book. Come on, man, think of better and updated stuff to put in your book!

But this is a book supposed to be for people who are in love or in love with love. So, who am I to dislike those people? Who am I to dislike love? Anyway, next week is another Valentine’s Day. The day reminds us the importance of love and so I rate this book with 2 stars. Meaning, this book is okay.

But the Korean movie about a young man who constructs circles in the field to call the aliens from outer space just for his girlfriend to get well is a lot more interesting than this book.
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Reading Progress

February 3, 2012 – Shelved
February 4, 2012 – Started Reading
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: short-stories
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: stylist
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: tfg-100
February 5, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 54 (54 new)


Angus Wait, I did not recommend this to you!


stephanie i didn't think it was supposed to be alphabetical, i thought it was just "defining" words, like a dictionary does. and in that case, i liked it. leviathan is such a word lover that i think that this is kind of what the book was about - not just a love story about a boy and a girl, but a love story with words.


message 3: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely That's fine, Stephanie. As they say, one man's garbage is another man's gold.


message 4: by Apokripos (last edited Feb 05, 2012 09:16PM) (new) - added it

Apokripos I just love Angus's reaction. Haha! :D
Priceless...


Angus I really didn't, hahaha.


message 6: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely I felt you did, Angus.


Angus There you go, you "felt" it. I wouldn't recommend a book that I didn't rate 4 or 5 stars.


message 8: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely That's because I saw you so engrossed while we were in Alabat Island. You were reading this book and you were blissfully happy. Even if you did not recommend this straight to me, I felt you did by the look on your face.


Angus Excuse me? I was reading A Farewell to Arms! Gosh! The tricks your waning memory plays on you, hahaha. It was Maria who was "blissfully happy" reading this. And also Tina, maybe. Even Ariel.


message 10: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Of course not, I saw you while walking towards the pier on that Sunday morning. Don't you deny it.


message 11: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina LOL Angus and KD! :) I think it may be me and Monique who recommended this. Aaron returned it to me that weekend. If I remember correctly, Ariel wasn't able to finish this that's why it went to Maria. She finished reading this at the boat, then I lent it to Angus.

(O I remember whose hands held my book. I think my copy is with Sheryl now :D)


Angus See? You should listen to Tina's account. I haven't started this when we were still in Alabat or during that weekend for this matter. You can check the date when I read this (November 6).


Angus And we were taking photos of the scenery that's why we were "blissfully happy". Hmp!

Tina: Bakit ba ang kukulit ng mga matatanda? Hahaha.


Maria I was the culprit who read this in Alabat. :) lol

KD, we really don't have the same taste in books. Nyahaha.


message 15: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Angus, of course not! You were reading this on the street prior to boarding. I still remember you were asking aloud the meaning of a certain word. I did not know its meaning so I did not answer.

Then I saw your face. You were smiling. And I took that as an endorsement. You endorsed me this book! You did. You really did!


message 16: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Maria: Yes, we still don't have anything in common. Even the Cosmopolitan magazine that you brought. I will never ever touch it.


message 17: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina Wehehehe ang kulit kulit. Sinong may photos nung nasa dock tayo? Andun ang proof! :P


message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I really enjoyed the humor that you interjected in this review, KD! :)


message 19: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Tina: Si Angus yon! That's it! I have to search for that photo.

B: Thanks. Forgive my banters with my friends. They loved this book and I found it utterly boring. We flock together though we don't have the same feathers!


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara KD, There is nothing to forgive! This is the way we play this "game"!


Maria Ako ang may pic sa dock with this book!

KD, kay Alona ata ung Cosmopolitan. FHM Ladies Confession ung magazine na dala ko!


message 22: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely B: Oh the game of love. We are just friends!!! I am their father. :)

Maria: So, you are the one! Harhar. Let's read part 2 of the Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness and see if we can have a book that we both like! Di mo ako pinahiram ng FHM na yan. Compilation ng mga Ladies Confessions?


Maria Yes! reading buddy tayo for The Ask and The Answer. bahala ka na kung kelan mo i-sked.

compilation ng Ladies Confession ng mga celebrities :) although my confessions pa din ang madlang people dun (na mas maganda kesa sa celebrities', hehe).


message 24: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Maria: Let's start on Feb 27. By that time, my current buddy read "The Canterbury Tales" will be done. Would you mind opening the thread? I'd love reading this with you.

Pahiram. Pahiram nyang Ladies Confession na yan. May ISBN ba?


Angus Tina: IKR!
Chami: Umamin ka na nga, wa epek pa rin!


message 26: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina KD and Maria: when you're done with The Ask and the Answer, I'll join you guys when you read Monsters of Men. That is, if you want to buddy read that too. :D


message 27: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Angus: Ito naman di na mabiro. Basta ikaw pa rin ang favorite buddy ko ever.

Tina: Of course, I'd love to read the third book with you. Basta hindi pa babawiin ng nagpahiram na si Ace. He told me last year na this year ko ibalik har har.


Maria Sure, KD. I'll try to create a thread before Feb27. I'm not sure sa ISBN, check ko ung mag meya.

Chami, masama tlg loob sayo ni KD. ikaw ang idinidiin! LOL

Tina: Yey! Ok to, para matapos ko na ang Chaos Walking trilogy. :)


Angus Oo nga! Kasi hindi ko na nakakabuddy. Kung anu-ano kasing binabasa, hahaha.


message 30: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Angus: Ikaw na may salawahang puso!


message 31: by Cel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cel I love the book :-)


message 32: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Good for you, Cel. Same as my many women friends! And my gay friend! Har har.


message 33: by Megs ♥ (new) - added it

Megs ♥ lol, K.D. this review left me totally confused! You are married for 18 years, yet you weren't in love when you read this? YOUR POOR WIFE! :-( lol Idk maybe I'm reading it wrong or I'm drunk on too much chocolate!


message 34: by K.D. (last edited Feb 14, 2012 06:29PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely I love my wife, Meg har har. Good for you to notice that.

But not in the way love is depicted in this book. For one, I don't even see myself falling out of love till the day I day or maybe after I die. Or if there is life after death, I think I will still be loving my wife. Who knows?

I'd like to think that my love for my wife will be forever. Forever means maybe even when we are already in heaven (if there is one). And if there is an end in the afterlife, it will be the life after that.

Or if the Hindus are right, no matter if we become dogs or plants or insects, I will still love my wife :)


message 35: by Megs ♥ (new) - added it

Megs ♥ K.D. wrote: "I love my wife, Meg har har. Good for you to notice that.

But not in the way love is depicted in this book. For one, I don't even see myself falling out of love till the day I day or maybe after I..."


Yes, of course I was joking, but awwww that is really sweet.

Anyways, I wanted to say that you were totally right about the toothpaste cap. It is a horribly outdated concept.


message 36: by K.D. (last edited Feb 14, 2012 08:32PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Your joke really almost put me to tears. I began to question my love for my wife har har.

Hmmm. I am not sure if I am a minority. But now that we've been married and seeing and sleeping together for 18 years, the love is different compared to when we were dating har har. The love in this book is just like that.

Toothpaste cap and toilet bowl cover. Those should be scrapped har har. All houses must have a urinal!


message 37: by NJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

NJ I thought the style was very ingenious. Then again, I guess it really is not for everybody.


message 38: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, Nelvieee. :)


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I love this review 'specially the toothpaste cap bit :o)


message 40: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, Bookowl.


message 41: by Lorena (new) - added it

Lorena what is it then? 1 star or 2 stars? because the rating shows only 1 and the comment says 2...


message 42: by K.D. (last edited Jan 19, 2013 05:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely OMG! I did not know about it. This book was recommended to me by my girl friends. I think the reason was that the author-guy looked very handsome. Is he gay?

For me, it is a non-issue but I would appreciate it more if the author comes open about his sexuality. I mean like Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris.


message 43: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Thank you, JW. I appreciate the info. I will have to spread the word among his girl fans hahaha.


message 44: by Clarizza (new) - added it

Clarizza Caoagdan i knew it! he's a gay.. anyway.. i love reading this review.. i felt all the words and reactions.. and it simply amaze me, KD and Angus for your conversation with each other.. your both funny.. lol.. lookin' for your other reviews.. :)


message 45: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Thank you, Clarizza. :)


Anya (~on a semi-hiatus~) I adore David Levithan's work. About the gay info, it's a revelation but not surprising. Either way, he's an epic Wordmeister.


message 47: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Anya, I quite agree with you. But one book by him is just enough for me. Thanks. :)


message 48: by Henz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Henz Yeah this book was pretty much hurried ... I love korean films too because the drama and romance are more deeply thought of and surpasses other cliches..


message 49: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely Henriette wrote: "Yeah this book was pretty much hurried ... I love korean films too because the drama and romance are more deeply thought of and surpasses other cliches.."

Thanks, Henriette. K-Pop! :)


message 50: by Eli (new) - added it

Eli Sooo, you don't like it because it doesn't fit your own cultural perceptions of what love is and it's not up to date with toothpaste tube manufacturing trends? Okay.
P.S. They still make toothpaste tubes with the screw-on caps. I buy them all the time.


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