Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Posted February 14, 2014 by shooting in Uncategorized / 27 Comments

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Review by Lauren

bought my own; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe something at once
utterly mundane and wholly transcendent, that has the power to consume our lives
completely, while making us feel part of something infinitely larger than
ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless
narrator of David Levithan’s “The Lover’s Dictionary” constructs the story of a
relationship as a dictionary. Through these sharp entries, he provides an
intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of coupledom, giving
us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

Review: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I’ve had this book for awhile and I figured today would be the perfect day to finally read and review it since it deals with the various aspects of loving someone. This is the first novel that only David Levithan has written (I read a book he co-wrote) that I’ve read. It’s an interesting look into his writing because of the set-up of the book, but it definitely shows that he is a remarkable writer.

The entire book is told in dictionary entries. Each new “section” is a letter of the alphabet, and within that “section” are a variety of words that start with the letter. For example, two words in the B section are “belittle” and “breathtaking.” They seem like an odd combination about a book trying to describe this indescribable notion of love but it makes sense. Love isn’t all poetry and roses and happiness. Sometimes it’s angry, jealous, wanting more than the person can give you.

I liked that not every word had a long entry. Some had longer stories that relate to the word, while others are a simple sentence. It was a quick read, but it’s a book that leaves you thinking. Since the book follows the alphabet, some of the entries felt off because you’re jumping through their relationship. As I kept reading, things started to make more sense and follow a “pattern” if you will. This isn’t a reason not to read the book, but rather something I thought I’d point out before you do.


I found this image online that shows you one of the dictionary entries:

27 responses to “Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

  1. This is the first I'm haering about this book but that sounds like an amazing idea, how every entry is in dictionary definitions. I really want to read this one because I know that David Levithan's a fantastic writer, and this sounds like such a heartfelt and creative book. Fantastic review, Lauren! <33

  2. I so agree with you, Lauren! Love is not always rainbows and butterflies, and I think David Levithan surely knows how to depict love with his beautiful proses. This book is totally perfect for Valentine Day's gift. 😀 Thank you for your beautiful review! I hope you had a wonderful day on the 14th. 😉

  3. Great review, Lauren! I'd love to read this. I had no idea this book was so original in concept. I love verse novels and somehow this reminds me of one. I've read David Levithan before and actually met him at a few signings and he is extremely clever and hilarious. 🙂

  4. DMS

    I have not read anything by this author, but this book sounds different and interesting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 🙂

  5. I skimmed this once in a store and thought it looked really interesting and innovative, and I'm glad to hear the book explores all the various emotions of love, not just the happy ones. Great review, hope you enjoy your next Levithan read!

  6. Heh, perfect Valentine's read! I'm really curious about the format. I like what I hear! It sounds like a really original way to tell a story, while still keeping to a theme and pattern.

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