How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan

  • Title: How They Met and Other Stories
  • Author: David Levithan
  • # of Pages: 256

How They Met and Other Stories is a collection of eighteen short stories written by David Levithan. This is the sdecond Levithan book I’ve read – well, you could say first and a half – the half being Will Grayson Will Grayosn which he co-wrote with author John Green.

This book is a collection of short love stories. There is no connection between the plots or the characters except the general theme – love. The writing spans across Levithan’s entire life as an author, icnluding stories he wrote in high school up until more recent ones. It started with Levithan writing a physics-themed love story in a boring physics class as a junior, a story he later gave to his friends who obviously demanded another one – and so he gave them just that. Over and over again.

Now, I’ve only recently grown out of my unexplainable hate for short story collections. It’s actually kind of ironic, because i’d always hated short stories and thought they could never be complete and yet my writing now is mostly poetry or short stories. Levithan’s characters come from all different backgrounds and ages. I was surprised to discover that quite a large number of stories dealt with same-sex couples. In many of the stories it wasn’t clear right at the beginning what the gender of the two main characters were and sometimes I ended up reading half the story thinking I was reading from the point of view of a girl, only to discover it was actually a boy and vice versa.

I’ll admit – not all of the stories are great. Some of them took me minutes, others dragged on. Levithan’s writing is without a doubt fantastic, but some of the stories just didn’t pull me in as much. One of my favorite stories was the one Levithan wrote as a junior. It’s a short story called”A Romantic Inclination,” and it’s about two friends who think they might be in love. The story is full of physical terminology as the two mull over the idea of professing their love and thus ending their period as friends and becoming lovers instead.

Another story called “The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes” is about a couple who meet on an airplane (surprise!). The man telling the story reveals that he’s always had two rules for himslef and that one is if he ever met someone reading the same book as him, he’d strike up a conversation. Of course the young lady who takes the seat next to his is also reading A Room With a View, which begins a relationship whose origin turns out to be even more surprising than the couple could’ve imagined.

All in all, I’d say I enjoyed the book. The story with the airplane couple even inspired my own short love story that I wrote last night at two am. There were some less interesting stories and there were ones I literally dragged myself through, but others were absolutely wonderful.

Out of the eighteen stories if I had to choose a bottom three and a top three I’d say that in the top there’d be “The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes,” “A Romantic Inclination,” and “Andrew Chang” (which was probably the weirdest situation).

In the bottom I’d put “Without Saying” (I honestly understood nothing – not a single word. I couldn’t even figure out who here was loving who and what the hell was going on), “Memory Dance,” and “Breaking and Entering.”

This book is great for people looking for stories about love. The stories are like little snippets out of a bunch of lives, jsut a bunch of moments all joined under one title. There are stories about homophobic parents, teen girls falling in love with college boys, couples trying to overcome personality differences and desires, love at old age – pretty much everything. You can almost definitely find someone to relate to, and even skipping a story or two does no damage since they’re all standalone pieces.

The book is good, the writing is great, the ideas are wonderful.

P.S. A lot of the comments on this novel seem to go along the lines of “oh my God everyone is gay I didn’t know this when I purchased it I mean seriously it should say that somewhere!” Yes, there are quite a few same-sex couple stories.Maybe even eight or nine. I’m just addressing these comments so that you’ll know what to expect and to say even more importantly – does it really matter? The stories are about love. That’s really all there is to it. I personally wouldn’t classify it as an LGBT novel. Yes, it does touch the subject. However, that really isn’t the focus and anyway, what’s wrong with reading a story with gay people? They read the “straight stories” all the time. So yeah, there are gay people. There are also old people, young people, boys, girls, dances, singers, high school students and Starbucks eployees in it too. That’s really not the point.

Quotes and Highlights

  • I’d always had (and still do) two rules for myself: If I were ever to pass a busker on the street who was playing the same song that was on my headphones, I would give away all the money in my wallet. And if I were ever to be riding the T and spy someone reading the same book as me, I would strike up a conversation.
  • When I am with you, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. And I am a person who always wants to be somewhere else.
  • Meredith’s grandparents were married so long that their time together acquired all the time before and all the time after, so it could be truly said that they are married forever.
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