Update: 2017: I think you should ignore most of what I’ve written below. Upon reflecting at a later date, I recognized the actual brilliance of this whole thing. You can read more of my thoughts here: One Teaspoon Cellophane
How is 2016 being so blatantly dominated by books of the romance genre? Is everything ok with me? This isn’t how I am.
Well, we’ll either ponder over that, or I’ll take the help of this Bookish Bingo created by my friend Shantala, who blogs at Shanaya Tales (check out the blog!) to jump out of this terrifying routine (yes, romance to me is terrifying; send help).
You know I could review David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary with just one word: cute.
I don’t mean that in a fawning-over-a-baby way nor do I mean that in a sarcastic way. I mean, just, cute (adj.)
The plot line is lean. There isn’t much there to talk about. The layout is interesting, with words laid out in alphabetical order in the form of a dictionary. Accompanying each word is a scene from the relationship of the protagonist. Some of words have nothing to do with the story, but somehow, I still found them (there’s that word again) cute. For instance:
You brought home a typewriter for me.
More than the story, The Lover’s Dictionary is an exploration of the protagonist’s feelings, his love for the girl, as well as his deepest insecurities in the relationship. In describing the latter, the girl does not come out as perfect, but that’s only his own shortcomings colouring the way he sees her. It’s a little disjointed, but won’t appear so if we see these as observations rather than parts of a story.
I wouldn’t call it breakthrough literature, but I see why it has become immensely popular. People relate to it, its simplicity and everything. It isn’t the kind of book I’d enjoy regularly, but it’s like pop music. It caters to a certain age group (YA) and while an occasional song is fun and new, I wouldn’t wanna live and drown in that saccharine pond of sentimentality.