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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | Last updated: 5:13am

'The Lover's Dictionary' puts a literary spin on the love story



Could you tell a love story by picking out words from a dictionary? A- arcane, B-bolster, C-candid. Alone, they seem unrelated, but together, they can speak of a cherished love.

Picking the right words to tell someone you love them is notoriously difficult. In the novel “The Lover’s Dictionary” by David Levithan, dictionary entries create a narrative about the intimate moments of an unnamed couple’s relationship. The ups and downs of the relationship play out alphabetically, not chronologically.

“The Lovers Dictionary” is a novel way of telling a love story in a genre that has been cheapened by Nicholas Sparks and the like.

The novel’s couple meets through an online dating service, and the two soon find themselves falling fast. In the heart of New York City, their lives intertwine; they meet each other’s parents, coworkers and best friends, all of whom approve of the relationship.

But when they move in together, they must struggle to combine their hopes and dreams while each maintaining their sense of individualism, balancing their emotions and keeping past loves from intruding.

breathtaking, adj.
“Those mornings when we kiss and surrender for an hour before we say a single word.”

dispel, v.
“It was the way you said, ‘I have something to tell you.’ I could feel the magic drain from the room.”

This isn’t the first time Levithan has taken on love. He is famous for giving us the novel “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” a story of adolescent love that was turned into a movie dramatizing the craziness of teenage love, drugs and rock n’ roll.

In his fourth novel, “Marly’s Ghost,” he remixes Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” with a Valentine’s Day twist. In nearly all of his novels, including “The Lovers’ Dictionary,” Levithan chooses to tackle on the complexity of love in his own unique way. He says in his biography that he doesn’t write a book unless it feels like a challenge.

Whether in a relationship or single, anyone can relate to “The Lover’s Dictionary.” It’s real, it’s witty, and Levithan makes every word count.


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