This book is wonderful, if only because you can read it in about an hour and get to check off one more book on your list, or be that much closer to fulfilling your Goodreads goal for the year. But in addition to that, I enjoyed this book because it is a creative way of looking at a relationship.
The book is narrated by a man through dictionary entries of words that characterize aspects of his relationship with his unnamed girlfriend. She has cheated on him, and through the entries we learn how they met and we see him wrestling with what to do now. What I love is that every entry is a moment, an honest look at a relationship. The small things she does that bother him. The way she knows how to belittle him. The way he doubts himself. The good times that might make their relationship worth saving.
That’s really it. There’s not much plot. The characters aren’t fully developed. But they don’t need to be, because the emphasis is really more on getting into the emotions of love—all of the hate, joy, despair, gratefulness, and everything else that goes along with it.
I’ll just give you a couple of the most meaningful entries (and each of these is one whole page in the book!):
I was hurt. Of course I was hurt. But in a perverse way, I was relieved that you were the one who made the mistake. It made me worry less about myself.”
We think of them hiding in the hills—rebels, ransackers, rogue revolutionaries. But really, aren’t they just guilty of infidelity?”
Last night, I got up the courage to ask you if you regretted us.
‘There are things I miss,’ you said. ‘But if I didn’t have you, I’d miss more.’”
That’s the dilemma, isn’t it? When you’re single, there’s the sadness and joy of only me. And when you’re paired, there’s the sadness and joy of only you.”
Each of these entries touched me. I think that is the great success of this book: that the reader can read it and think, “Yes. Yes—that’s how it feels.”