Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Every Day

Levithan, David. Every Day. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.


Body Hijacking -- the ultimate identity theft.


How many of us can say that we’ve ever loved someone entirely, exclusively, for who they are on the inside

What would it be like to have a soul, but not have a body? What would life be like if it meant “borrowing” someone else’s body every day, never the same one twice? How could you ever love or be loved, if you were never the same “person” every day?

I thought I wasn’t going to like this. I usually want, and expect, to climb into stories and get to know the protagonist, his people, his setting, and settle in to his interactions and tale with the other characters. The idea that my protagonist was unable to be described, because he didn’t possess a body, really wasn’t working for me. And then it did. Once “A”s voice began to consistently express itself with a trajectory that transcended the bodies he/she was in every day I jumped on board. I consistently thought of “A” as male, perhaps because the first body he was in was male, and he fell in love with that guy’s girlfriend, a heterosexual girl, so I started to categorize “A” as male because of that and because it made his love interest, Rhiannon, the most comfortable.

“A” has been jumping bodies as long as he/she has been conscious of being alive, and it happens at midnight each and every day. “A”’s age seems to correspond to the age of the bodies he/she jumps in, and “A” grows up at the same pace. In the story, “A” is now sixteen. Jumping takes place into a body that is geographically located within a few minutes to a few hours of the last one, so if that body ends up in say, Hawaii that day, on a plane, “A”’s next jump would strand him in Hawaii, unless another body he was in moved that day somewhere else. “A” always tries to maintain the status quo for the person’s life he is borrowing for the day, trying to “do no harm” and even leave things better when leaving than when arriving, if possible. But when “A” ends up in Justin’s body, and meets Rhiannon, he falls hard, and all bets are now off as “A” hijacks each subsequent body to try to stay connected to her, even if just a voyeuristic venture; soon that wears “A” down.

Risking all to reveal his true nature to Rhiannon, “A” strives to connect in a way most of us take for granted -- to love and be loved -- for more than one day. But everything goes terribly wrong; errors are made that set in motion a reckoning that could prove disastrous to both Rhiannon and “A”. How much is it worth? How much is “A” willing to risk? What if there was a way for him/her to stay?

The beauty in “A”’s experience is we are able to see what it is like to “try on” people and truly “walk a mile in their shoes” aka their bodies, to ultimately learn to accept and understand all types of people -- the geek, the beauty queen, the mean girl, the jock, the lesbian, the gay male, the trans-gendered, the fat guy: teens of all shapes, sizes, skin colors, cultures, gender and/or sexual affiliations -- and truly see that our humanity is universal and should be embraced. That life should really be about kindness, connection, love and moral integrity.

Genre Categories: Romance, Multicultural (LGBTQ), Paranormal/Fantasy.

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