With varying degrees of success, I select books based on covers. I’ve talked about this before. It’s something a lot of people do. It’s not abnormal. But sometimes, I pick books up for reasons that take a much twistier path. I decided to try reading David Levithan because I was watching Supernatural and that particular season was about leviathans. It was a pretty sorry excuse for a season, but I loved the word leviathan, and it’s similar to Levithan. So, that author must be worth reading, right? Combine the name with the cover and blamo, I ended up discovering an author I love.
Now, I’m going to admit, when the book showed up on my hold shelf at the library, I flipped through and sighed. This is not a style of book I enjoy. I anticipated flowery/ pretentious gobbledy-gook. But then I started to read and the quirky style won me over by the letter C. A love story told in the format of dictionary entries. One entry for each letter. No matter how short, you understand how this person feels about the object of their desire.
I am not a fan of straight out love stories (books or movies), but as I read, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Written on the Body (Jeanette Winterson) and Parenthesis (Julian Barnes). These are two of the only stories to give me that ooshy gooshy love feeling. In the very short time it took to read The Lover’s Dictionary, I added it to this exclusive list.
I do not think you need to be in love or to love the concept of love to be touched by these three book. The styles are entirely different, but the result is the same- a one sided proclamation of love from one to another, allowing those feelings of joy and sorrow and uncertainty to be shared with candor. It feels like truth in a way a “romance” novel almost never accomplishes.
This book is one I will buy and pull from the shelf from time to time just to read a passage or two. Just like the Barnes book that falls open to Parenthesis whenever it’s taken off the shelf.