Review: Every Day

Every Day
Every Day by David Levithan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wake up.

Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body – opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else.

It has always been like this.

When I was a kid (and even now) I used to wonder what life would be like as a different person. What would it be like to live as another? It was perhaps the inherent escapism in me, that I found books and tempered that sonder. But Every Day took me to new levels of experiences, with A, a character who fully embodies the ‘carpe diem’ philosophy. A is agender/gender fluid, so describing A as he/she is difficult. Since A did call himself Andrew at one point, I’m going to refer to A as him. Now he doesn’t know why he is like this, just that each day he occupies a different person, of the same age progressively, leading him to believe that is his true age as well. Imagine living countless lives, and each life a chapter – that’s what the book is firstly about. Each day, A becomes a different person, and for that day, A becomes a girl, boy, or whatever that person is. A doesn’t have the feelings of that person, just the memories, so navigating a person’s life is a little difficult, especially when you don’t want to interrupt their lives. That all changes the day A wakes up as Justin and falls in love with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. She has been in this dead almost-one-sided relationship with Justin a year now, and A feels a pull towards her and simultaneously feels for her. So, when the next day brings a new body, a new life, A starts breaking self-made rules to chase her.

The most glaring fact is that, being A, there is no chance for a regular relationship. Each day the body changes, so Rhiannon is firstly stumped by seeing a new person everyday. She has it hard, in the way that she has to look for A every time, see beneath the skin, into the soul. She is also heterosexual, which makes it slightly weird for her whenever A is female, but she still goes along with it. It’s a meeting of souls, but a relationship between them – especially a physical one is complicated. And each time the body is also a matter, however you look at it. Love is part affection and part attraction – and every time the new body is something Rhiannon has to get used to, forget being attracted to. It’s lucky that A’s soul is transferred around the same state, because being shuffled around the world would have made it impossible. Even with A’s virtual life as an e-mail account, which is the only way A can keep in touch, there is still the question of him never being able to be there for her, never being able to stay. There is another person, Nathan, who A had once occupied and was left with remnant memories of the occupation. The background as to what A is, isn’t even hinted at until nearly the end of the book – but that suspense wasn’t the only thing driving the book. It was the beauty of A’s existence and also the pain of it – the ability to live such myriad lives and yet never truly be a part of it. It was heart-breaking, I tell you, and I cried at times. This book left me broken down, crying at the end, which is too painful and also very spoiler-y. But man, such beautiful lines in this book – I would have read it faster if I hadn’t stopped and shared every beautiful quote on Tumblr. Basically, what I am saying is – go read this book!

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