Saturday, November 7, 2015

Every Day | by: David Levithan

After hearing so many rave reviews of his work, I have finally read my first David Levithan novel, Every Day.

I was both intrigued by and weary of Every Day's premise when I first read it. It's about a soul named A who wakes up in a different body every day... interesting as that sounds I was worried A's situation might feel a little hopeless, and while it certainly seems that way for much of the story, I did not feel overwhelmed.  (The primary exception is when reading about Kelsea, the clinically depressed teenager A inhabits for a day.) Levithan leaves us in a cloud of uncertainty at the end but not without hope, and that seems to be the best note to end on for this type of book.

As A moves from body to body, life to life, Levithan examines a lot of different lifestyles and circumstances and demonstrates sympathy for a wide range of people. The examination of different types of people is actually one of the greatest strengths of this novel. Even though some of the personalities are arguably a little cliche, that does not mean that they don't exist, and I think his goal was to show extremes anyhow. Still, this story emphasizes how similar we are despite external differences. Once A finds his love interest Rhiannon, her inability to feel the same way about him as he switches bodies is both frustrating and understandable. We judge by appearance all the time, and I don't think we realize exactly how annoying this can be until we hear from a being who has no appearance.

The writing style is consistently gorgeous - Every Day is a book filled with great quotes to like on Goodreads. There are passages that perfectly sum up humanity's strange intolerance, and there are passages that describe love better than most literature I've read, because Levithan does not care if the truth sounds far-fetched and romanticized. It's reminiscent of T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" - "Do I dare disturb the universe?" - a line that has always been spot on with me. Both positive and negative relationships are explored, and I think everyone understands either what it's like to be in Rhiannon's position in regards to Justin or what it's like to know someone special who insists on staying in shitty relationships.

Every Day is certainly an intriguing and memorable novel. I've never encountered anything quite like it before. It may fall a bit short of being a new favorite, but it got me thinking, and I'm pretty sure that was Levithan's goal with this book anyway.

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