The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

A love affair story set in New York and written like a dictionary? Yes, please!

This sounded like such a good idea when I was recommended to read this book by a friend and since I’m a huge fan of David Levithan anyway, it didn’t take much convincing.

It turned out that we had both met people online before, and we had both slept with people on first dates before, and we had both found ourselves falling too fast before. But we comforted ourselves with what we really meant to say which was: “I don’t normally feel this good about what I’m doing.”
In 185 snapshot moments, The Lover’s Dictionary tells the story of a love affair between two people in New York. Moving, funny, heart-breaking and life-affirming, it is a story that anyone who has ever fallen in love will recognise.

Not once during reading this book did I feel moved, did I laugh or feel heartbroken. I felt confused and I felt bored. This story just felt so disjointed, there was actually no story. It felt like a patchwork book where everything is jumbled together and there is no meaning.

“‘It was a mistake,’ you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.”
– David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

There were a few moments where I thought this book had potential – those feelings were near the beginning of the book, but I still had them – but I just got let down. The book is very quotable and Levithan uses this book to portray the ups and downs of a relationship and even mentions how little pet hates make you feel frustrated like when your other half leaves the cap off of the toothpaste. However, a book being ‘quotable’ does not make it a good book.

The plot was so disjointed that I didn’t even know what going on. Once I had finished the book, I actually turned to my Mom and said ‘I don’t know what happened’. I genuinely had no idea what story I had just read. I know that there were two lovers, I know that they’re together for two years but in what ‘chapter’, the narrator exclaims about being cheated on but then in the next ‘chapter’, everything is happy and like no cheating has happened. One ‘chapter’ is about the first date and then the next is when they’ve been together for one year. It isn’t in chronological order and it makes no sense.

I do think it’s a clever way for a book layout and I even got to learn the meaning of some different words that I can add to my vocabulary, but as I said before: it had so much potential and I just got let down.

The only other time that I would read this book is to see if I could make any sense of it a second time around.

Sorry, David Levithan, but this book was not good at all.


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