Book review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

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Wow. Just… wow.

ersatz, n.
Sometimes we’d go to a party and I would feel like an artificial boyfriend, a placeholder, a boyfriend-shaped space where a charming person should be. Those were the only times when my love for you couldn’t overcome my shyness. And every degree of disappointment I’d feel from you – whether real or of my own invention – would make me disappear further and further, leaving the fake front to nod, to sip, to say, “Finish your drink, we’re leaving.”

I think you need to be in a specific mindset to appreciate this book, and I was there when I read it. I wish I could share all of the passages that made me smile, laugh, and cry. But, unfortunately, that’s more than half of this book, and I’m not too sure that it’s legal to share that much of a copyrighted work. So you’ll just have to trust me.

corrode, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.

Read this book if you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship. Read this book if you’ve ever wondered how amazing and wonderful and awful it is to share so much of yourself with someone else. Read this book if you’re heartbroken. Read this book if you’re desperately in love.

abyss, n.
There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us.

This book is so honest. It’s very, very short – only 211 pages, most of which only contain a few sentences. But it somehow captures all the highs and lows of a relationship.

voluminous, adj.
I have already spent roughly five thousand hours asleep next to you. This has to mean something.

This is the Levithan I remember from my teenage years. Sure, this book is aimed more at adults than teens. And, needless to say, the format it a bit different than his usual. But it’s 100% his style. Even with these short dictionary entries, he still has the ability to evoke such emotion.

reservation, n.
There are times when I worry that I’ve already lost myself. That is, that my self is so inseparable from being with you that if we were to separate, I would no longer be. I save this thought for when I feel the darkest discontent. I never meant to depend so much on someone else.

I’m glad that I waited to read this book. Had I read it in 2011 when it came out, I don’t think it would have had as much of an impact on me. I want to give this book a hug.

Final rating: ★★★★★

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