Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: every day by david levithan

First, I would like to point out that it was almost physically painful to write the title and author name in lower case but since that's how it is on the book....

This book, ugh, I'm so conflicted over it. The premise is WAY OUT THERE. Like I had difficulty suspending disbelief several times, I was always teetering on the edge of being yanked completely out of its fictional world. What is the premise? Well A, who is genderless for reasons you will soon understand, switches bodies every day. Every single day. Always in the same region and always bodies of people who are more or less A's age. A was born this way and grew up this way, every single day in a different body, never in the same body twice. So yeah, A possesses people for a day, or borrows their bodies. Then one day A meets Rhiannon, who is trapped in a very unhealthy, unhappy relationship, and falls in love. A breaks all the rules and establishes a friendship with Rhiannon by email and telling her the truth. And so.

This could have been a really awesome exploration of many themes, and it did touch on some of those a little. Mainly the trappings of the physical vs. the internal self and the connectedness of self to the physical. I do think this was...kind of hit upon but more in what felt like Levithan's overall preoccupation with gender. Which isn't to say I wasn't also interested in that aspect, but I felt like it overshadowed so much else.

Like this is going to sound silly, but I remember as a child, just looking at my arm and contemplating its relationship to my self. Is my arm me? You know that kind of thing. I think we have such an intense relationship to our physical selves that we don't even think about, and I feel like...I don't know that part of this book felt superficial in a way. A does get stuck in different bodies that affect how they feel (i.e. being obese, being a drug addict, being depressed), but never questions self? Also it was kind of annoying to me how A sort of judged Rhiannon for feeling differently about whether or not the host body was a boy or girl, because look...I mean she was willing to spend time with a spirit that possessed a different body everyday certainly there are a lot of things to adjust to. I guess Levithan's idea is that we fall in love with people, regardless of gender, but all of this is a bit more complex than that to me.

Anyway, so I didn't know how to feel about this book because I had a hard time with the premise, and I also had a hard time with A. I was annoyed at several points by what I felt like verged on the edge of preachiness and captivated by other lovely perceptive passages. And then all of the sudden I hit the end and I was SOBBING. Like I cried really really hard. Because we finally go to the heart of it and all the things that make my heart ache like the beauty of intimacy and being known and loved an accepted.

So...I'm not going to recommend or not recommend this book or anything like that, but I'm glad I read it because it's interesting. And I know some of you have read it and I really want to know what you thought of it, if you cried like I did at the end, and what you thought of all of it!

Rating: 3.75/5
Things you might want to know: oh I don't know maybe some hot making out
Source of Book: ARC picked up at ALA
Publisher: Knopf


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