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Merle

Merle

The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan I enjoyed The Lover's Dictionary much more than I expected. It's formatted as a dictionary, where each word leads to a vignette about the lovers' relationship--which works surprisingly well, coalescing into a non-linear narrative that encompasses the joys and frustrations of love. The character development is nontraditional: neither of the main characters gets a name, but they are still surprisingly vivid. At the same time, the entries feel so honest and universal that almost any modern reader will be able to relate, even if your specific experiences are nothing like the characters'. And the writing is also excellent, almost poetic but without being showy.

But that subtitle ("A Novel") is a blatant lie. This is not a novel, and probably not long enough even to qualify as a novella, once all the blank pages and pages that contain only a sentence or two are taken into account. It can be read in an hour or two, tops. I checked it out from the library precisely because it's short (it seemed like a good break in the middle of reading Stephen King's massive novel 11/22/63), but I would not have wanted to pay full price for it.

Given the length, I might have breezed through this book, but instead I found myself slowing down to take it in more fully; I've even gone back and re-read bits. Modern-relationships books rarely appeal to me, but I'm glad to have read this one.