Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book four: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan.

David Levithan is one of my favorite writers of young adult fiction.  His books Boy Meets Boy, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson charmed me for their big-hearted stories and their ability to make young gay characters seem both ordinary and extraordinary.

So I was intrigued by Levithan's latest book targeted at adult readers.  The Lover's Dictionary has an unusual structure.  The book is written as a dictionary.  Each "chapter" is a different word that describes a moment or activity in a relationship. Told in first person, this book chronicles the love life of two people.

I can't decide if The Lover's Dictionary is a novel or a book of poetry.  I also can't decide if I liked this book or if it was just annoying.  The poetic nature of The Lover's Dictionary means it's sometimes hard to follow.  And the last entry left me wondering if the ending is happy or some sad, hopeless affair.  I'd be OK with either; I'd just like to know which it is.

The jury may be out on whether or not I like the book, but Levithan's writing is still delightful.  And some of the entries are charming.  Like a portion of the entry for unabashedly, "You know, I'd get a tattoo with your name on it. Only, I want you to have the freedom to change your name if you want."  Or the strange entry for yesterday, "You called to ask me when I was coming home, and when I reminded you I wasn't coming home, you sounded so disappointed that I decided to come home." And there's this entry brilliant for candid, "'Most times, when I'm having sex, I'd rather be reading.' This was, I admit, a strange thing to say on a second date. I guess I was just giving you a warning. 'Most time when I'm reading,' you said, 'I'd rather be having sex.'" I'm still trying figure out which statement best describes me.

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