The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover's DictionaryThe Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a literary version of the film 500 Days of Summer – only instead of 500 days we have 26 letters of the alphabet, each one offering up a selection of words to illuminate the evolution of a perfectly banal love story. Basic plot: She’s the life of the party, albeit damaged, while he’s the introspective (possibly nerdy) guy, pinching himself every time the relationship survives another week, another month, another year. They eventually move in together, which brings both contentment and frustration, however we learn early on **(it’s not a spoiler don’t worry!)** that she’s been unfaithful.

But because the relationship is recounted out of sequence (example)….

E- Ethereal (pg 88)
“You leaned your head into mine, and I leaned my head into yours. Dancing cheek to cheek. Revolving slowly, eyes closed, heartbeat measure, nature’s hum. It lasted the length of an old song, and then we stopped, kissed, and my heart stayed there, just like that”


E – Exacerbate (pg 89)
“I believe your exact words were: ‘You’re getting too emotional’”.

…the effect is to distance the characters from the events, so that they don’t quite embody the story completely; The characters move over just enough so you can consider everything out of context. Allowing you to read yourself in between the lines. Not every entry, of course – we’re part of our own banal stories afterall! But bits and pieces stand out (different parts for different people, no doubt), so that you can pause to reflect on the ways in which human emotions – however ridiculously cliched the scenario might be – are at some fundamental level, universal.

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