My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh, David Levithan… Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love your books any more than I already do, I fall head over heels for “The Lover’s Dictionary.” It is both brief and brilliant- I wanted it to last forever, and yet it was a perfect little gem just as it was.
“The Lover’s Dictionary” is just that- a dictionary of love. Two people’s love- the tiny moments that, strung together, make up the story of a relationship. Hilarious moments snug up against truly tragic ones in the inescapable way that they do. The entry for buffoonery (about a drunken episode of subway pole dancing), is followed shortly by the entry for cocksure— “We walk into a bar, and you’re aware of all the eyes on you. We walk into a bar, and I’m aware of all the eyes on you, too. For you, this translates into confidence. But me? All I can feel is doubt.”
Levithan’s work offers at once an intimate, yet disassociated look at the life and story of his character. As readers, we’re privy to some of the most important moments of their relationship, but the format ensures that we never fully grasp the big picture. We see the highlight reel- the same moments you might see in a film trailer. On the other hand, how many of us remember more than the highlight reel of our own relationships? We remember the moments that left an impact, the ones that stood out, whether from ordinary loveliness or from a sense of the extraordinary. Sometimes, even, from the extraordinarily terrible.
This is a book that captures the way that relationships are so often a series of dichotomies, balanced between ephemeral and permanent, awful and delightful.