Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Lover's Dictionary: a novel

Author: David Levithan

Publication Date: 2011

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? I don't know. Everyone? People who do/have/will love?

Point of no return: The layout. It is set out like any other dictionary, with words in alphabetical order, and notations to say whether they are nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. The entries after the words (one word entry per page) are very subjective definitions. I guess you could say the point of no return was the first entry, which is: aberrant, adj.

Classic entries: buffoonery, n.
You were drunk, and I made the mistake of mentioning Showgirls in a near-empty subway car. The pole had no idea what it was about to endure.

flagrant, adj.
I would be standing right there, and you would walk out of the bathroom without putting the cap back on the toothpaste.

raze, v.
It sounded like you were lifting me, but it all fell.

scapegoat, n.
I think our top two are:
1. Not enough coffee.
2. Too much coffee.

What's it all about? A man compiles his own dictionary that encompasses his relationship, from the raw, awkward beginnings, through moving in together, to infidelity and uncertainty. It is written in the first person, and very honestly. I found myself identifying with several entries, laughing out loud to others, and blinking back tears at others still.

I really enjoyed the difference of this book (the novelty of this novel?). The layout, the anonymity, the way it is snapshots of a relationship, that really could be anyone's relationship. I read this in two sittings, and even then I think it was because I started reading it in my lunch hour at work, and so had to put it down.

I think this would make an excellent book club book, as there is lots of scope for introspection and discussion.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; New York

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

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