Sunday, August 18, 2013

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan - Ashley's Review

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Title: How They Met, and Other Stories
Author: David Levithan
Year Published: 2008

My Pre-reading
Paul's Review

Where Did They Meet?

It was on a plane. It was at Starbucks. It was in physics class. It was during the war.

How Did They Meet?

It was a setup. It was completely random. They were dancing. One of them ordered a pizza and the other showed up.

What Happened?

It was instant. It took time. It was a disaster. It lasted.

In this new gathering of stories, award-winning author David Levithan writes all about love, and about all kinds of love. From aching for the one you pine for to (reluctantly) being the one pined after, from standing up and speaking up for the one you love to the pure joy and happiness delivered on the smile of someone else, these stories explore the mysterious magnetism that draws people together in ways both expected and unexpected.

Love is a varied, complicated, addictive, volatile, scary, wonderful thing ... and it's all on display in How They Met, and Other Stories.


Review: I think that collections of short stories are really fun. You can only spend a limited amount of time with a certain st of characters, so you can only learn things that are relevant to the story. The settings are often simple, since you can't really waste a lot of time and space with just the set up, and this usually causes the pacing to be pretty quick. But good short stories aren't as easy to come by as you would think; the author still has to tell a complete story but in a much smaller space. David Levithan is one of those geniuses that turns a short story into a masterpiece.

This collection of stories has probably been one of the best I've read. Some of the stories are only a few pages, and others are upwards of 30, but each and every one tells a complete story that left me wishing that they didn't have to end. Some of the stories are very conclusive and it's pretty easy to infer what would happen next in the lives of the characters. Others are so open-ended that I was left wondering if the main character and his/her love interest even end up as a couple. But I enjoyed all of them. 

One of the things I really thought was ingenious was how Levithan doesn't necessarily reveal the gender, skin color, age, etc. of his characters right away. Sometimes, you start out thinking a narrator is one gender and several pages later find out that you were very wrong. But you know what? I think it helps get the message across that love is love is love, regardless of physical traits. Most of the characters are of high school age, but can be very young or elderly. The couples are both opposite and same sex, but the relationships are exactly the same at their cores. 

It's kind of difficult to review this book as a whole, since there are so many stories that make it up, but it was still a book I found myself not wanting to put down. It's not full of action or adventure or magic or science fiction or fantasy. It's just real life, down to earth love and relationships and people. But Levithan still makes it enchanting and captivating, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his books and stories.

I would totally recommend this to someone who is a fan of Levithan but hasn't read these stories yet, and also to anyone looking for some stories that are easy to read but still make you think about life and love and all of those things. A 4/5 on this collection!


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