It's no surprise that I'm a huge fan of David Levithan. No surprise that would want to read How They Met. I've not read many short story collections or anthologies, short stories aren't something that generally appeals to me, but expecting Levithan's usual style of beautiful turns of phrase, I was sure I would love How They Met. And I wasn't wrong!
How They Met consists of 18 short stories about love. As Levithan says in the Author's Note, these aren't love stories. The usual connotation of "love story" is a story with a happy ending, and with these stories, that's not always the case. There's heartache, break-ups, realisations and epiphanies about relationships, beginnings, ends, middles, and everything in between.
What I love most about these stories are most are told in first person, and for a while, you're unsure of the gender of the narrator. You find out eventually, but until you do, you're not aware of whether the story is an LGBTQ story or a heterosexual story. Yes, there are both. I love this because it means you relate to the feelings straight away, each story is universal for the get go, and continues - no matter the readers sexuality - when you find out the sexuality of the characters. It's awesome! I'm going to talk a little about my favourite short stories.
The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes - This is the story of a relationship between a straight couple who meet on an aeroplane... but not all is what it seems. It's beautiful and romantic, and has this almost purposeful butterfly effect element. It also shows how wonderful strangers can be.
Flirting With Waiters - A sweet, sweet story of a young girl with a crush on a waiter. I love the point to this story. It's not earth-shaking, it simply shows how wonderful the small things can be.
Princes - A great story! Although there is a romantic love element, this story, for me, is more about familial love. Acceptance. Hope. It's just amazing!
Skipping the Prom - This story is simply beautiful. There is nothing else to say.
Without Saying - Two stories in one, and yet, really, just one universal story. Great use of second tense for one. One of those thought-provoking ones. I rather think he's wrong in this one, at one point, but he still gets me thinking.
Memory Dance - Oh my god! This story brought tears to my eyes. Absolutely the most gorgeous story in the whole collection. This is a story that fills me with hope. You need to read it for yourself. Then you will understand.
Such a fantastic collection of stories, so completely beautiful. I absolutely loved it! I think you will, too.
Thank you to Electric Monkey for the review copy.
Published: 2nd January 2014
Publisher: Electric Monkey
David Levithan's Website