Sunday, 22 September 2013

Every Day by David Levithan: The Review

Every Day
by 
David Levithan

 Title: Every Day
Publisher: Egmont
Buy This Book: Amazon



For as long as A can remember, every morning A wakes up in a different body. A doesn't know who it will be or where it will be, A just knows that this is what will happen. So A has spent a lot of time learning to never get attached, to never form attachments to anyone; A has learned the hard way that the pain of the seperation when he wakes up somewhere else the next day is never worth it. That is until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. Rhiannon is someone A feels an almost immediate connection to. A feels like A has met someone who is worth getting to know, A feels A has met one of the only people who might accept A for what A is. Rhiannon makes A want to break every rule A has ever made. But can A really find a way for them to be together every day.




When I read the blurb to this book I knew I just had to read it. I loved this whole idea of it and really thought it was an intriguing and orginal premise. So when the book finally arrived I stopped what I was doing and immediately started reading it. I was left feeling disappointed and a bit annoyed by the end of it but I will try my best to explain why. 

What I liked about the book was also one of the things that caused so many issues for me. That was the whole idea behind it, of waking up every day as somebody else. Never having your own body, your own identity, your own family. It just sounded so intriguing, but such an unusual idea like that is bound to cause issues. Which it did, but I will get to those later. 

I need to say that I didn't completely hate this book, but I didn't completely like it either. I believe the most I can say about it was that it was at times interesting but for the most part infuriated me beyond belief. The book is crammed full of so many marginalised groups it comes off as ridiculous. One day A is a gay man, the next a girl who wants to kill herself, a drug addict, a lesbian, a transgender. Instead of coming across like the book is trying to champion these groups or highlight any important issues to do with them; it comes across as these groups of people are being used so that the author can say "Look at me! I am so tolerant of all kinds of different people." It seemed unauthentic and left me feeling kind of offended by the whole thing. 

I believe the first thing that truly wound me up about this book though, was how the blurb refers to A as he. But A is neither gender, A has no body, no voice, A is just a guest in someone each day. But as A is referred to as he in the blurb I went into the book thinking of A this way. But as I read I realised A isn't really anybody, there is nothing to even support the fact A is human nor any explanation as to what A is. This book left way too many questions unanswered and also starting to add/ make stuff up as it progressed that contradicted what had been said at the beginning.

A has no idea how it works; whatever it is that happens to A every day. And yet magically halfway through the book when one host has some memories left over; A is suddenly aware of the fact that A can leave the hosts with whatever memory A wants. Not sure how this suddenly becomes apparant but don't worry, have no fear this does not need to be explained, just accepted. Don't question anything; obviously. 

A also falls for Rhiannon straight away. She is clearly A's true love, despite having very little personality and also the fact she is kind of a doormat. Why she is the one person A has felt a connection to I will never know. And how she so readily accepts that A is something that switches from person to person everyday is also something that infuriated me. It does not ring true, it would take a little while for that to sink in but oh no one minute A is a boy and the next A is a girl and Rhiannon just deals with it and makes out with both. I felt bad for the people who A was inhabiting, being made to kiss a stranger they do not know. Seems like a gross violation, A is not these people, A is no one, A has no identity; A just steals one for a day.

This book seems to be trying to shove the idea of acceptance down our throats. "Accept people for who they are no matter what" unless of course they are fat. If the person is fat we get these charming insights into who they are: 
"his size comes from negligence and laziness, a carelessness that would be pathological if it had any meticulousness to it. While I'm sure if  I access deep enough I will find some well of humanity, all I can see on the surface is the emotional equivalent of a burp."
Charming. This actually really infuriated me, that we are having this message of acceptance rammed down our throats but then A has so little tolerance for someone just because of their weight. A wants Rhiannon to accept A no matter what, whether one day A is a boy or the next a girl and yet A is unable to accept someone because of their size. The word hypocrite springs to mind and I could no longer feel any sympathy for A or his situation. 

I also struggled to believe that if A really had switched bodies everyday since the beginning of A's existence, he would really be that normal. You grow up surrounded by the same people each day, who shape who you are as a person and teach you certain values. But A wakes up every day with different parents, siblings, guardians, teachers. Teaching conflicting ideas and values; how would A really have grown up so well rounded. 

The only redeeming part of this book was the end, and not only because of the fact it was ending (finally!). But the fact that A seemed to finally have gotten on to my wave length and realised just what A was actually doing. Was a satisfying ending to the book I must say. 

I really found this book infuriating, it wound me up beyond belief. I had already tried to read another book by David Levithan that I had also not enjoyed and so maybe it was my own fault for not learning from that disaster (The book was Invisibility)

I would never read this book again but that's not to say that I wouldn't tell anybody else to read it. I actually would  urge others to give it a try. This is one of those books that just isn't for everybody. It has had so many other glowing reviews that I really do believe it's like marmite. You either love it or you hate it. You can either ignore or get past the gaping holes in the plot or you can't. I couldn't. Maybe I think far too much about these things, but I would much rather think too much than too little. If you read and enjoyed this book I would love to know why.



2/5 Stars





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