Book Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan


Speaking as a person who has not been in love, reading books about them is a way of being able to look inside it. Those of us who are on the outside or have come close to the gates can only imagine the joyful feeling it possesses. This book gives that while showing the simple reality of two people's love story that only those in love can completely identify with.

The style of the book is what pulled me into buying it when browsing the reduced section in Waterstones. I have also read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares that Levithan co-wrote, I liked the book so I expected to like The Lover's Dictionary. Exactly like a dictionary, each page or so has a new word in relation to love. Every 'definition' links to the relationship between the nameless lovers, from the details of when they first met, the great days and the hard times. We get into the mind of the man's point of view of the relationship.

It reminded me of how you would read a persons diary, you discover how they feel and gain an understanding of what is going on in their head. As well as reading each part like a book of poems, when reading certain definitions I could not quite process how carefully chosen some of the words were. I can only compare it to how I write in my journal, a place where I let myself feel whatever it may be that I'm feeling in that moment and just write down that raw emotion. The way the story is told I think is what makes it powerful.

The short book can be read all at once and that is personally the one thing I can criticise. I could have easily read more, although this may be what makes it what it is. For me, reading The Lover's Dictionary has helped me understand how complicated love and romantic relationships can be. We don't get to choose how or what we feel but it is better to have felt them than to not have felt them at all. When a book does this, teaches me something, I know I've read a good one. And maybe it will do the same for you or at the very least will be somewhat enjoyable.

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