Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

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basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time. (Taken from GoodReads)

This book was lovely. It’s a quiet read. When I say quiet, I mean that it doesn’t make you laugh but you will smile. It doesn’t make you cry but you will frown. What it did more often than not was make me sigh – in a good way. Sigh because I could identify with so many of the beautiful things written in this book.

This is also a short read. But that doesn’t diminish the book’s loveliness in the least. David Levithan’s words are always thoughtful and beautifully and emotionally descriptive. You can tell he is a person that loves and is loved and he has no problem defining it.

I believe most people that have been in a romantic relationship will identify with this novel. You may not identify with every page (no relationship can be put in a box) but you will identify with some. And the pages you don’t identify with? Just sit back and let the beauty of the language sweep over you.

Below are a couple of my favorite quotes from The Lover’s Dictionary:

Ardent, adj.

It was after sex, when there was still heat and mostly breathing, when there was still touch and mostly thought…it was as if the whole world could be reduced to the sound of a single string being played, and the only thing this sound could make me think of was you. Sometimes desire is air; sometimes desire is liquid. And every now and then, when everything else is air and liquid, desire solidifies, and the body is the magnet that draws its weight.

Cadence, n.

I have never lived anywhere but New York or New England, but there are times when I’m talking to you and I hit a Southern vowel, or a word gets caught in a Southern truncation, and I know it’s because I’m swimming in your cadences, that you permeate my very language.


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