Book Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Reviewer: Bijay Khandal
Editor: Ayeshwini Lama
‘Every Day’ is an unconventional love story between a soul that wanders from one body to another and a girl, Rhiannon. Two main questions that begged David Levithan to write the book were: what would it be like to grow without gender, parents, race, friends, sexual orientation and all other things based on which we classify ourselves?
What would it be like to love someone who changes every day? After all, the common notion is that definiteness is what keeps us feeling secure in a relationship.
A is a soul that wanders from one body to another every day. A’s fate deprives him/her of memories, friends, future, parents, gender and many small birth-rights that a normal person receives even before his own name.
Despite lack of generosity from fate, A doesn’t try to go against the laws of nature. His/her ethics restricts A from disrupting the daily pattern of his/her host’s life- That is until the day he wakes up in Justin’s( Rhiannon’s boy friend’s) body. That day is unlike any other for him. He develops feeling for Rhiannon which he has never experienced before for anyone. From that day onwards A tries to fit into Rhiannon’s life. Even though his inhabiting different bodies every day makes this very difficult, he is the same soul that houses special love for her so he finds it in himself to make it work. While trying to frame their own love story, A starts walking against the ethics that once guided his/her life.
David Levithan firmly believes that he has tried to detail out the experiences of a soul that wanders between different bodies. Throughout the novel, the protagonist’s soul wanders from one body to another. The bodies that house A throughout the book have parents, gender, race, friends and sexual orientation but A doesn’t have any of these. There is always a conflict between ethics of body and soul. David Levithan is sure of having created a plot in which, every day A is faced with challenges to create harmony between himself/herself and the body that houses him. Rhiannon is also faced with challenges whereby she has to find answers to the questions thrown by her not-so-cliche relationship with A.
David Levithan hasn’t done enough justice to the question about life without race, friends, gender, sexual orientation, creed and other things based on which we classify ourselves on a lifelong basis. A was in love with Rhiannon (girl) and in most parts of the novel, the readers are left with the assumption that A is a boy. The novel reads as a boy-girl love story most of the time, leaving us wondering whether A is really just a boy’s soul left a-wandering. The author has given very limited perspectives on this love story. The only part where we encounter a homosexual relationship is when A inhabits the body of a boy. Inclusion of various love stories between a girl A and a boy A and Rhiannon would have really thrown light to The understanding of ‘life without gender’.
Every time A wakes up in a new body, he/she has new parents. A’s ethics dictate him/her to behave in the way that the proprietor of the body would have behaved with his parents. A’s concerns of having to reach back home before his temporary parents are home and the carefulness A shows in order to avoid offending them are typical characteristics of a life with parents which fails to answer Levithan’s question about life without parents.
Loving someone different every day itself is a very vague question. Love happens between soul and not bodies. A’s soul was same in many different bodies and Rhiannon fell in love with his soul. So in no way was Rhiannon loving someone different but A, every day. So David Levithan’s claim to find about love for someone who is different every day doesn’t hold any strong points either.
On the brighter side, in a very creative manner, Levithan has touched up on a few of the issues such as gender and unconditional love which weighs more in terms of soul rather than the body that hosts it and some of the issues that teens have to fight through every day.
Most importantly he puts forward the notion of what an existential crises should entail. The message I see is “As long as you are in your own skin, you are privileged.”
I strongly recommend teens to read this book. The book clearly outlines the challenges one has to face as teens. Challenges are there to make us stronger.