Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Lover's Dictionary

novel, n. and adj.

How a book can tell the oldest story known to man, but in a new and interesting way.
A love story dressed as dictionary entries: arranged alphabetically, not chronologically.
A relationship constructed with words. Words defined by the relationship.

David Levithan's novel of a modern love story told entirely in dictionary entries is a witty jaunt through one couple's relationship highs and lows. The narrator defines each chosen word with a vignette--a brief illustration, sometimes no more than a sentence, of what the word means to the couple.

I was hooked from the very first entry (aberrant) to the concluding entry (zenith). This novel ranges in depth from fresh and sweet to heartbreaking and bitter--all in the span of the alphabet. It even sent me to the actual dictionary a few times, especially when an entry could only be considered a "definition" in the most abstract sense.

Reading this book made me wish I had thought of this idea. My story would be different, but the unique format intrigues me. This would make a good writing exercise, even a personal self-reflection. A Rachel's Dictionary. We all bring baggage to the words in our lives--what feelings, stories, and memories would you attach to the words in your dictionary?


  1. I will read what ever you write and love it. You have a way with words and feelings. Keep up the wonderful work and do that book soon. gma

  2. Wasn't this book excellent? I would actually be intrigued to read your version. Just because it has been done, doesn't mean you can't do it too, and possibly even better. All great literature stands on the shoulders of those who came before, which itself stood on the shoulders of previous literary greats, and so on. No shame in doing the same. Keep me posted.

    1. That's true...we do new things in old ways or old things in new ways. I think 2014 will be the year to experiment with new story formats!