Review: The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan

Book Reviews

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

4 Stars

This review will be short and, hopefully, sweet.

This story about a couple who meets online, falls in love, moves in together and almost falls apart over a drunken mistake is told brilliantly by David Levithan. We are given intimate details, precious insights, about this couple, told to us in alphabetical order. Each word will either make you smile, swoon, or break your heart. I liked that it read almost like a journal, a very poetical one, mind you, and that it was not in any way linear. Because of that, each time you read a certain word and its entry, you’ll find yourself wondering where you’ll read the next piece of story. What I loved most was the realism of this story…the emotions and problems could all have been mine because this couple could totally be you…you relate and connect with them. I completely recommend The Lover’s Dictionary. :)

Some non-spoilery quotes I bookmarked (there were A LOT!):

“bemoan, n.
This is dedicated to your co-worker Marilynn.
Marilynn, please stop talking about your sister’s pregnancy.
And please stop showing up late.
And please stop asking my lover to drinks.
And please stop humming while you type.
I’m tired of hearing about it.”


“finances, n.
You wanted to keep the list on the refrigerator.
“No,” I said. “That’s too public.”
What I meant was: Aren’t you embarrassed by how much you
owe me?”


“ineffable, adj.
These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.”

Book Info

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux
Pub Date: January 4th 2011
Pages: 211
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: AdultContemporaryRomance
Buy the book! | Goodreads

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.


Jess @ Gone with the Words

3 Responses to “Review: The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan”

  1. Avatar

    E Kelly

    Intriguing! As an avid reader, I am always looking for the new and unusual; something I haven't seen before. Sounds like this one completely fits the bill! Thanks for sharing it with us. Adding it to my TBR list!!

  2. Avatar


    This was in my list for so long! I wanted to have this so much ?
    I hope I can read this sooner…

    Btw, great review :)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.