The Lover's Dictionary

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The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel
Author David Levithan
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 211
ISBN 978-0-374-19368-3
OCLC 608033766

The Lover's Dictionary is a 2011 novel by the American author David Levithan. It is his first novel for adults. This modern love story is told entirely through dictionary entries which are brief and concise having a very unique pattern and style.


A nameless narrator tells the story of a relationship through dictionary entries. These short entries provide insight into the ups and downs of their romantic relationship, revealing the couple's problems with alcoholism and infidelity. The story does not unfold in chronological order; instead, it is arranged alphabetically by dictionary entries which give glimpses into the joys and struggles the characters face over the course of their relationship.

Major themes[edit]

The Lover's Dictionary is "a story about love, in all its messy complicated reality," says Levithan.[1]

Development history[edit]

The idea for the book was inspired by a Valentine's Day tradition in which the author writes a story for a group of family members and friends. While trying to come up with an idea for a new Valentine's Day story, the author noticed a book called Words You Need to Know sitting on his desk and became inspired. "Could I tell the story of a relationship by just randomly picking words in alphabetical order from this book and then writing entries as if it were a dictionary?" Levithan wondered. He chose the words in alphabetical order and let the story and characters reveal themselves as he wrote the dictionary entries.[1]

Publication history[edit]




External links[edit]