Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Title: The Lover’s Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2011
Why I Read It
I had seen reviews for this one all over the book blogosphere and knew I wanted to read it. Just the format–a love story, written through small dictionary entries–seemed intriguing. And, I am a sucker for love stories! 😉 Then someone lent me a copy. Yay me!
What I Liked
It is arranged alphabetically, just like a dictionary. Each new entry has a dictionary word, followed by a short vignette describing a piece of the love story, as associated with the word. From GoodReads:
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
With each passing entry, I fell further and further in love with the protagonist. I felt his anguish, his euphoria, his heartache as acutely as if it were my own. The brevity Levithan writes with shows a master at work. He can make you vividly feel in so few words what we have all encountered at one point or another when we have loved. He crafts a typical love story in an unusual fashion and the reader cannot help wanting to know how the story will unfold with each passing entry.
I read this novel for enjoyment, but as a teacher, my mind is always looking for lessons/themes/ideas to use in my classroom or even with my own daughters. Here are some valuable lessons/ideas I look forward to using in my classroom:
- The format alone is enough for me to use it in the classroom. I am constantly urging my students to experiment with new writing formats and this is one way to introduce it to them.
What I Didn’t Like
The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that is was such a quick read. LOL 🙂 I read it in one sitting in about 2 hours. I will be re-reading, b/c it was a bit hard to follow-as it is not written in a linear fashion, but the gist of the story made sense. It will just be more poignant as I re-read it.
- People who enjoy a love story
- People who enjoy quirky or untraditional love stories
- YA Readers–that includes teachers!