Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan

When David Levithan was a junior in high school, he found himself bored in physics class, so he started flipping through his physics book and "finding as many romantic notions as possible." He started writing a story, and, by February, he was done. He shared this Valentine's Day treat with friends, and they asked for another. A tradition was born: he wrote a new short story every year for his friends and family.

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan is more than just a collection of eighteen tales written by the same hand. The author prefers to call them as "stories about love" rather than "love stories," and I agree. This anthology is a many-splendored thing, a testament to different kinds of love: first crushes, the love of family, coincidental meetings, set-ups, break-ups, and make-ups. The Memory Dance celebrates a marriage of forty years, while Lost Sometimes (previously released in the 21 Proms anthology) has someone looking for more in his relationship.

As he did in The Realm of Possibility, Levithan has once again captured multiple voices and made it seem effortless. He offers first-person, second-person, and third-person narratives, with protagonists ranging in age from their teen years to their twilight years.

Starbucks Boy was my favorite piece in this collection, with its sweet story of a six-year-old who knows what (or who) is best for her new baby-sitter. The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes and What a Song Can Do also vied for my affection.

The stories are not connected, and yet they are: By their underlying currents. By what they envoke (empathy and sympathy, tears and laughter) in readers. Each story has a different piece of the heart; when put together, they make for the loveliest of puzzles.

How They Met, and Other Stories is recommended for teens and adults.


Read an excerpt from Starbucks Boy at David's MySpace blog.

Here is one of my favorite passages from the story What a Song Can Do:

This is what a song can do. Our moments
are music, and sometimes - just sometimes -
we can catch them and put them
into some everlasting form. If I didn't
have music, I don't know if
I could ever be truly happy,
and if I didn't have these moments,
I would never find music. It's everywhere,
in the air between us, waiting
to be sung.


I had the opportunity to interview Rachel Cohn and David Levithan twice, once in 2006 and again in 2007.

For similar anthologies, check out my Quick Reads and Short Stories booklist. Also pick up some Verse Novels.
Tags: books, reviews

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