The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan



The only other books I’ve read by David Levithan were ones that he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (which I loved), and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (which was meh). This is my first time reading a solo novel by him, but I was really disappointed.

The unnamed narrator writes about his relationship with his significant other (no clue if it’s a lady or guy) via “entries” of a dictionary. So at the top of the page is a word from the dictionary, and below is a short entry of how that word relates to this relationship… but I guess the basic point of the book is that it’s so hard to find the right words to talk about love.

I read reviews that said this book was sweet & touching. If I’m reading the same book (and I’m pretty sure I am), I say the book is overall frustrating and slightly depressing. The relationship in the book has few positive or happy moments, so I don’t know how this can be a book even remotely describing love. The characters apparently met online, began their relationship with lies, one of them drinks too much, and there’s infidelity. Yes, it’s very nice that one looked at the other while s/he was sleeping – but overall this was just a screwed-up, unhealthy relationship that I don’t think constituted love on either end. And, I just don’t find it “touching” when one person puts themselves through hell and degradation because they’re infatuated (not necessarily in love) with someone.

If you’re looking for sweetness, for a happy story, don’t read this. If you don’t like the hipster, I’m-crazy-and-spontaneous-isn’t-it-endearing, indie characters that seem to be so popular in pop fiction these days, don’t read this. If you’re looking for a book that speaks truth about love and relationships – for goodness’s sake, don’t read this.

All this being said, I really disliked the book, and I’ll be apprehensive about trying another one of Levithans’s solo works in the future.

Sarah Says: 2 stars – an extra star just because there were a few well-put-together sentences that would have been great in another novel, just not this one.

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***Also, for those of you that liked my recent review of The Bronze Horseman – I read the sequel, Tatiana and Alexander and really liked it. But since I can’t really post a review here without giving away mega spoilers for TBH, I’m not reviewing it here. I really liked it though. If you want to see a review on it, go to my Goodreads page.


One comment

  1. >This was nominated for my book club, but decided against it because it was short. I saw a quotation from the novel on another blog and figured it was going to be what you say here. It was something along the lines of- I say this but really mean something else and that' what all people do all the time. Oh, please! I still want to flip through it out of curiosity, but thanks for the honest review!


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