Every Day – by David Levithan
This is a difficult book to review because so many of my thoughts about it relate to the ending and I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say that I loved it, and that it was so deeply engrossing that when I finished it and came back to the world, I had trouble recalling what had happened in my own life in the last week or so. It’s the kind of book that makes reality seem gray in comparison.
Every day, A wakes up in a different body with a different life and tries to navigate through each day making as little impact as possible. A’s biggest rule is to leave each borrowed as close to the way it was as possible. No interfering in other people’s lives. But one day A meets a girl named Rhiannon and everything changes. A falls for her almost immediately and starts breaking all the rules to try and find a way to be with her.
It’s a fascinating concept and one that, in execution, turns out to be, among other things, surprisingly sad. A has a different perspective on the world than anyone else, having been so many different people from different walks of life. A’s experiences allow him/her to see things other people don’t and to understand people in unique ways, but they also limit A’s ability to see people rather than generalizations. Never spending more than a day with anyone means that A never really gets to know anyone that well – never has any friends or family of his/her own (I’m trying to avoid pronouns as much as possible here because A doesn’t really have an individual gender, but it’s difficult). One of the things I really liked about this book was the great variety among the people whose bodies A inhabits. They’re all the same age and live in the same part of the country, but they are male, female, transgendered, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, and Hispanic. One’s an illegal immigrant, one’s a drug addict, one’s suicidal, one’s grotesquely overweight – all of which could turn out very After-School-Special, but it doesn’t. It never felt forced to me, and Levithan handles all of these issues gracefully. It’s easy to assume, starting out, that the point of the book is to use A’s unusual perspective to point out the flaws in our own perspectives, but one of the best things about this book is that A’s perspective is not without it’s own flaws. A is far from perfect and doesn’t always do the right thing, but it’s also exceptionally difficult even for the reader to decide what the right thing to do is when there is nothing A can do without directly affecting someone else. It’s quite a thought-provoking book and I highly recommend giving it a read.