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THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY tells the story of two people and how they fell in love. It's not a retelling of how they met but rather a collection of quick moments in their lives that, some more, some less, shaped them as a couple.
What intrigued me: David Levithan is my favorite contemporary writer!
Unique Format and Storytelling
Due to the fact that the story isn't told in a linear way, it is somewhat difficult to keep up with the story and it takes some getting used to.
I rooted for the story to continue the traditional way, marriage, kids et cetera, but again Levithan stays far away from the norm. That's what I love about his novels, that he doesn't try but always ends up on the unconventional, unexplored pathways. The special thing about this novel isn't the fact that the two proatgonists remain nameless, but the format. It's told in dictionary entries. While this might sound extremely strange and make people back away from this novel, I can assure you that you're missing out. When I discovered it in the bookstore and saw the name of the author on it, I just knew that I had to take the risk - because Levithan knows what he's doing and hasn't disappointed me so far.
Levithan manages to make the reader connect emotionally to the narrator without even revealing his name. This is actually one of the best cases of extremely sporadic but great character building I've read about.
Incredibly Minimalist, but Enthralling!
I imagine this to be of essential help for aspiring authors - this is how you build characters, you give them personality and not appearance, you give them quirks and not a tragic backstory. I was engaged in the story and invested and I wanted desperately to know what was going to happen.
THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY can't really be described, it's not a story, it's more of a feeling. I fell in love with the characters the way they fell in love - entry after entry. Levithan uses mostly difficult words in this, I was lucky to be reading the novel in a foreign language anyways, so I didn't have to look anything up, because it was all translated from English. Some of the words I never would have understood because they're sometimes extremely old-fashioned.
I was a bit sad that the entire plot revolves only around their love, not because it's boring to read about, but because I longed for being able to dive in more into their world. This is defnitely worth a read, maybe even multiple. Some passages were so poetic and probably even foreshadowing and I think that it is impossible to get all the references during your first read.
Overall: Do I Recommend?Yes I do. I know this novel might not be for everyone, this is why I don't explicitly put this on my recommendations page, but I know that for everyone that is a risk-taker - this might be exactly what you're looking for. "The Lover's Dictionary" is poetic, it's more an artwork than a novel and it leaves you wirh a weird feeling. Maybe it's love. I wouldn't know.
Author: David Levithan
Genre: Adult / Romance
"A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship."