The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is a 2012 Alex Award winning title. The book is written in the form of a dictonary. Every (or every-other) page is a new word, but it is not defined normally. Instead, Levithan uses an anecdote from the relationship between the two protagonists to define the word. For example:
belittle, v.No, I don’t want to listen to the weather in the morning. No, I don’t keep track of what I spend. No, it hadn’t occurred to me that the Q train would have been much faster. But every time you give me that look, it doesn’t make me want to live up to your standards.**
Other entries are much more romantic and lighthearted, or funny and sweet. But, sadly, many of them are difficult lessons learned during a rather normal relationship. One that is both supportive and judgmental, loving and hurtful.
This book, I truly hate to admit, made me reflect on my own relationship a bit too much for my own liking. It made me realize that, perhaps I should re-evaluate my reactions, responses, feelings…because sometimes I forget that being in a relationship is just as much about the other person as it is about me.
I don’t quite know if this book is Alex Award -worthy, if only because the relationship is so adult. Living together, enduring funerals of loved ones together/apart, cheating…these are very adult situations (especially how they are described in the novel) so I don’t know how teens can relate. Regardless, the book is wonderful and I will absolutely be recommending it to adult friends and adults who enjoy reading YA lit, as the author is a wonderful author of YA lit.
“livid” was one of the strongest, most honest paragraphs I have ever read. Read this book, if only for that passage.
“unabashedly” was hysterical. I love the line, “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 to.” What an incredibly well-thought out and completely rock-solid cop-out/excuse!