By David Levithan
Alfred A. Knopf
Review copy from NetGalley
[#50 in my 75 book challenge]
Publication date: August 28, 2012
“What would it be like to be purely a self, with no set gender, race, family, or orientation of any kind?” David Levithan asked himself that very question when he came up with the concept for Every Day. Every day the main character, A, wakes up in a different body. Though A is an independent person with unique thoughts and memories, the bodies A inhabits are only A’s for a day. Just one day. It’s a tough existence, with no permanence and no relationships. Until A meets someone and falls in love.
For A, being in love is amazing. Finally having someone to share a lifetime of memories with, and having someone to understand the difficulties of waking up as a different person every single day. A has been a drug addict, a regular kid, various athletes, male, female, transgenedered, gay, straight, religious, mean, rich, poor, obese, extremely hot, a twin…you name it. This is the life A has known forever. But imagine falling in love with someone who takes a different form every day, who lives in a different city every day, or who has to hijack the life of a different person every day to meet selfish needs. The situation is complicated, and it brings up some interesting questions.
This book is beautiful and memorable. Levithan’s description of A’s days as A wakes up and lives someone else’s life for 24 hours is intense. A literally walks in someone else’s shoes all the time, and takes the reader through those journeys. In inspires empathy and understanding, but also sadness. A doesn’t have any permanence in life, and seeks to find that though falling in love – with great logistical difficulty.
“People take love’s continuity for granted, just as they take their body’s continuity for granted. They don’t realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it’s an added foundation to your life. But if you cannot have that regular presence, you only have the one foundation to support you, always.”
“This is what love does: it makes you want to rewrite the world. it makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”
FINAL GRADE: A Of all the things I’ve read by David Levithan, this is by far my favorite. Everyone should read it, at the very least to appreciate what we have in life: our families, our pets, our jobs, and our ability to be who we are. From the GLBT perspective, I also love that Levithan shows us how the idea of gender can be irrelevant when falling in love. A has no gender, but experiences all genders and orientations. It would be an AWESOME book for a GLBT discussion group. I would put it in my library, too, because I have some mature students (8th graders) who would benefit from reading such a book and appreciate it. There is sexual content, though, in case that is a deciding factor for my fellow librarians out there.
Have you ever wished you could be someone else for a day? What would you miss the most about your life if you switched bodies every day?