Love, A to Z

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Contrary to what my book review bylines might say, I don’t really drink the David Levithan Koolaid.  I tend to think he publishes a new bite-sized book every three minutes that’s just the right mix of thoughtful, digestible and saccharine for those “In Case Of Volatility: Crack Spine” sort of moments [1].

“The Lover’s Dictionary” is that sort of book. When you need just a glimpse of the beautiful, nasty, human parts of interaction, you can work through the pages from “abstraction” to “misgivings” to “zenith.”

Each entry in the book is about a page in length with lyrical prose detailing the disjointed timeline of a relationship. Within the micro-form [2], a reader can get a glimpse at the tiniest moments of two people stepping into one another’s lives, wrestling around with demons and differences and ultimately reconciling with the absurdity that comes along with intimacy.

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There’s a desperation in the narrator to make sense of the often incongruent exchanges that is particularly haunting. Toward the end of the book, right after the narrator questions if he/she would still be romantically “viable” without his/her lover, Levithan writes “I have already spent roughly five thousand hours asleep next to you. This has to mean something.”

There’s a raw quality to the entries that face down the clumsier parts of interaction, the moments of uncertainty and the cracks in seemingly happy unions. The spectrum of emotions in “The Lover’s Dictionary” allow the giddy to mingle with forlorn, acknowledging that the sort of feelings shared between the real, breathing, anxiety-ridden humans are hardly one-dimensional.

[1] We’re talking the #dark Facebook stalking, drinking wine out of the bottle, torrenting “My Sister’s Keeper” kind of moments.

[2] I actually first thought the excerpts from the book were just a collection of beautiful Tumblr prose poetry (my favorite volatile reading material.) Apparently, they weren’t.