FeatherPenClipArtI read a book last week that I just have to mention here. It’s Every Day by David Levithan. It’s young adult, but I already mentioned that I love reading young adult novels.

In this story, a protagonist who calls him/herself “A” wakes up every day in the body of a different person. This makes him/her completely unattached to gender, race, body type, sexuality or any other characteristic we take for granted as part of our identity. A is used to moving from person to person without developing any long-term ties, but at the beginning of the book s/he falls in love with someone else’s girlfriend (Rhiannon) and decides to make the effort. Through various shifts, the two of them manage to put together a relationship, but it’s hard going. A makes a mistake that leaves stories of demonic possession flying, and then s/he has a brush with someone really scary. The ending is sweet, but it leaves so many issues hanging that this REALLY, REALLY needs a sequel.

Levithan has also released a set of outtakes from A’s life called Six Earlier Days and has Another Day, a “companion novel” written from Rhiannon’s point of view, coming out in August 2015. Hopefully this is just to help him think through a real sequel to the original novel, which needs to be a thriller. The scary, tenuous, unprotected nature of A’s existence just screams about threats.

It’s clear what Levithan meant to do with Every Day. Our consciousness is often shaped by the body we wear, whether black, white, male, female, gay, straight, big, small. It’s also shaped by family life and how others treat us. What if we could be completely free of all that? A also passes through the lives of people suffering from drug/alcohol addiction, child abuse, cutting and severe depression. What can we do to help these people? And finally, what are the ramifications of power over others? Is A’s moral code important?

Levithan has been criticized for skimming over the social issues in favor of the love story, and the fact that A admits to awkwardness and helplessness in the bodies of some of the people s/he inhabits. I agree that some of the issues might have been explored further, but A’s existence means we only get a single day’s snapshot. Should s/he try to get more involved? Is a policy of non-interference the best way to go?

The important thing is how we manage to identify with a person this strange, and how we understand his/her need for real love.

Five stars. Highly recommended.

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