Monday, March 30, 2015

Living Many Lives in David Levithan's Every Day

A few years ago, I found a lovely mini series entitled The Beauty Inside on Youtube (click here to watch it). The mini series tells the story of a person whose body keeps changing every single day even though the soul inside stays the same. One day Alex, his name, might wake up as a big fat Caucasian guy and become an old Chinese lady on the next day. His anomaly isolates him from other people, until one day he falls in love with a girl. I truly love this mini series because the story is unique and sweet while it is also visually beautiful. Oh and the score is sooo lovely! The one thing about it that disappoints me is the fact that it is very short. I wish it was longer. I wish I could know more about the main characters, about living a strange life like that...

My wish came true when I found a book called Every Day by David Levithan.

My copy of Every Day
The concept of Levithan's novel is similar to The Beauty Inside. However, A, the main character in the book, travels around and inhabits other people's bodies. When A wakes up in someone else's body, A must get through one day as the person who owns the body, not as himself, and does the same when he wakes up in another body on the next day. Just like in The Beauty Inside, A also isolates himself from the outside world and keeps his existence a secret. But everything changes when A inhabits the body a sixteen-year-old boy named Justin and meets his girlfriend, Rhiannon. A falls in love with her and, for the first time in forever, lets his desire to connect with her take control.

I've never read a book like this before. Usually, a book lets me experience one or two lives. But Every Day lets me experience so many lives as I follow A's journey. With A, I get to experience how it feels like to be a jerk, a gay boy, a lesbian girl, a teenager who is biologically female but psychologically male, a girl who looks like Beyonce, a homeschooled boy, a mean girl, a drug-addict, a depressed girl who plans to kill herself, etc. It's just so amazing to see the same world in so many different ways like that. It makes me realize that everyone has their own stories, their own struggles. It makes me realize that it is really important for us to be kind to one another and to appreciate one another.

I love how Levithan describes the world from A's point of view. The descriptions of A's opinions about the things in the world are very rich and detailed. Sometimes the descriptions are too long, but I find them very romantic. One of the most interesting thoughts that A describes is his opinion about love and gender. When it comes to gender, A is both and neither (I keep using the pronoun "he" to describe A because, I don't know why, I keep imagining A as a boy). When it comes to love, A doesn't care about gender either. A sees people for who they really are, for what they have inside. So when A falls in love, A could fall in love with either a boy or a girl. Once A falls for a guy named Brennan, but then falls for Rhiannon. A loves their personalities, so it doesn't matter whether they are a boy or a girl. This concept is not easy to grasp but I find it really interesting. Maybe this is Levithan's way to remind us that love is universal, that love is blind and has no gender.

Sometimes I feel sad for A too because it must be very lonely for him to live like that. He doesn't have a place to go home to. He doesn't have a best friend who knows everything about him. He doesn't have a favorite pair of shoes. He doesn't have his own phone. He has nothing that he could hold for more than one day. He has nothing but himself. There are some parts where A longs to have a connection with something or someone in this world and has to stop himself because he can never have it. It's just really sad and heartbreaking; reminds me to always be grateful for everything that I have.

There are two moments in A's story that I don't really understand. The first one is when he falls so hard for  Rhiannon after knowing her for only a few hours. I just don't believe people could fall in love with someone that quickly, without knowing much about the person that they fall for. Well, I believe that people could leave great impression on the first meeting which leads to love but I think love takes time. I can see that Rhiannon feels the same way about this, but A doesn't, which I don't understand.

The second moment is the ending. I just don't get the ending. I'm so moved by what A does for Rhiannon at the end but the thing that he does to himself is just confusing. The ending doesn't give a sense of closure at all. I really like the ending of The Beauty Inside and I think it would be great if Every Day has a similar ending. It's not because the ending of The Beauty Inside is a happy ending, but because it gives a sense of closure. I really need a proper closure for this wonderful story.

Overall, Every Day by David Levithan is a great book. It might not end on a nice note, like Rhiannon says, but it gives you a wonderful experience of living countless lives that you will never be able to experience in real life.

Favorite quote : There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go. (page 213)

Rating : 4/5 

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