‘Every Day’ is Enlightening
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We all go through life hoping to find our niche; the place where we fit our life and surroundings as perfectly as a puzzle piece. In his novel “Every Day,” David Levithan tells a story that rips this hope away from his characters, yet still remains relatable to his audience. Levithan is the master of emotion in this heart-wrenching story you can’t help but fall in love with.
“Every Day” follows the strange and fantastical life of A, a soul who spends every day in the life of someone new. A never stays in the same person for more than one day, and never inhabits the same person twice. While A is technically genderless, and becomes both male and female in the novel, he reads as male to most readers.
Because A never stays in the same place as the same person for more than one day, the novel is organized in a series of days, like a journal, rather than chapters. The novel begins at day 5994, making A sixteen years old. The bodies that A stays in are his own age and are in the same area, so A only moves if the body he is currently in moves to a new place or goes on vacation.
Normally, when A becomes someone new, he tries to leave that person’s life as untouched by himself as possible. He does the schoolwork, keeps up appearances with friends and family, and never deviates from that body’s normal routine. On day 5994, however, A’s world is turned upside down when he becomes Justin, and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. A forms an instant connection with her that he cannot explain, and knows that he will never be the same.
In just one day, they form a connection that is real and strong. As the reader, you find yourself falling in love with their relationship, even though it happens so fast. So, when A wakes up in the body of a girl in a neighboring town the next day, it is devastating.
Though Rhiannon herself doesn’t make any appearances for a while, A’s life is still engaging and powerful as we learn more about the “normal routine” which he tries to go back to for the next few days. But he can’t stop dreaming of Rhiannon.
For the next 36 days, A does everything he can to visit Rhiannon in each of his new bodies. At first, he does this anonymously, giving each new appearance a new cover story. He knows it would be crazy and even dangerous to tell her the truth. Eventually, however, A trusts Rhiannon with the secret he has never told anyone before: the true nature of his existence.
This novel might sound like a sappy romance novel to some, but that is exactly what makes this story so mesmerizing. While this book does have some of the common motifs of a classic romance, such as the instant connection, the arguments ending in kisses, and the all-consuming daydreams, it’s so much more than that.
A’s life is unique. What’s makes it spectacular is what he chooses to do with it. He experiences everything and nothing at the same time. His insight is unparalleled yet inexperienced. A’s character is real and relatable, even though his nature is such an abstract idea. The only way to give you a true feel of this is to let A speak for himself.
“I know it sounds like an awful way to live, but I’ve seen so many things. It’s hard when you’re in one body to get a sense of what life is really like. You’re so grounded in who you are. But when who you are changes every day—you get to touch the universal more. Even the most mundane details. You see how cherries taste different to different people. Blue looks different. You see all the strange rituals boys have to show affection without admitting it. You learn that if a parent reads to you at the end of the day, it’s a good sign that it’s a good parent, because you’ve seen so many other parents who don’t make the time. You learn how much a day is truly worth, because they’re all so different. If you ask most people what the difference is between Monday and Tuesday, they might tell you what they had for dinner each night. Not me. By seeing the world from so many angles, I get more of a sense of its dimensionality.”
Levithan works marvels as he gives the reader something to love about each of the characters and their relationships with each other, even though it all happens so quickly. Because this connection between the reader and the characters is so strong, the impact of the messages behind the story become even more profound. Levithan weaves new insights of some of the most controversial topics discussed today, such as mental illness, discrimination, sexual orientation, gender identity, and how society defines love and success.
Not only is the writing beautiful and the story unique, but the impression that this novel has left with me is something that not a lot of novels can do. This book has made me see the people around me in a different way, and that is the sign of a truly great writer.
I would recommend this to anyone, whether you enjoy reading or not. This is a 9/10 that you don’t want to miss.