Saturday, November 3, 2012

Everyday by David Levithan

I was so intrigued by the idea of this book when I read the summary online that I just had to get it.  It was super!  Here's the deal:

A is a person who wakes up in a new body every day.  One day a girl.  One day a boy.  One day in one town working hard in school and getting good grades.   The next day, another town, in the body of a person with an addiction.  It's been like this forever.

A has learned about it and has dealt with the fact that this is how life will be until one day A wants it to be different.  A meets a fabulous, beautiful girl, Rhiannon.  Now instead of calmly floating on to the next day, the next place, the next body, A wants to be back with her.  Kind of hard, though, when A has no idea where the next place or body will be.

So begins this book.  I liked that it just starts.  No real introduction, you just start one day with A on the journey and it all happens.  I thought the pace of the book was great.  It was detailed yet quick-paced.  I was so interested in how it all worked but I really enjoyed meeting the characters as well.

What really stuck with me about this book, though, was that A literally got to walk around in another's person's shoes every single day.  I think about how much we judge other's.  Even if we're calm and controlled enough to never blurt out crazy things, we all think stuff sometimes.  What A has realized is that all people, no matter what the outside appearance might be, have their own stuff they're dealing with.  A respects the bodies and tries to understand what the kid is going through.  I felt like I got to meet so many different kinds of people as I read this book.  I got to see so many perspectives on life, just like A does everyday.

So, can A and Rhiannon be together?  How can something like that even begin to work?  And if A does try to tell Rhiannon somehow that this is how life is, who would even ever believe a "story" like that.

I loved the book.  I was really hooked at the beginning and couldn't wait to see what each day would bring and how all the details of each day would affect the rest of the story.  I highly recommend this book because it's different and new and cool, but also I recommend it because it's eye-opening to see so many different kinds of lives.  I think it's a good reminder not to judge someone until you've tried to see things and understand things from their perspective.

Can't help it, so here's a favorite passage:
I have been to many religious services over the years.  Each one I got to only reinforces my general impression that religions have much, much more in common than they like to admit.  The beliefs are almost always the same; it's just that the histories are different.  Everybody wants to believe in a higher power.  Everybody wants to belong to something bigger than themselves, and everybody wants company in doing that.  They want there to be a force of good on earth, and they want an incentive to be a part of that force.  They want to be able to prove their belief and their belonging, through rituals and devotion.  they want to touch the enormity.   
It's only in the finer points that it gets complicated and contentious, the inability to realize that no matter what our religion or gender or race or geographic background, we all have about 98 percent in common with each other.  Yes, the differences between male and female are biological, but if you look at the biology as a matter of percentage, there aren't a whole lot of things that are different.  Race is different purely as a social construction, not as an inherent difference.  And religion--whether you believe in God or Yaweh or Allah or something else, odds are that at heart you want the same things.  For whatever reason, we like to focus on the 2 percent that's different, and most of the conflict in the world comes from that.
One passage/character/body that really affected me was Kelsea.  I thought about how hard high school is and how it's hard even if you've got everything together.  This girl's story really touched me.  It make me thing about how every time we say hello to someone, especially someone who's different or seems to need it,  we might be helping out.  Kindness matters so much.  More than we ever know.  We can't ever afford to be unkind to each other.  Every look, every smile, every nod, every hello matters and can send peace and respect into the world.  Here's Kelsea's life:
Kelsea has email access on her phone, but I'm still worried about anything being I walk the halls and go to classes, waiting for my chance.  I have to push harder to get Kelsea through the day.  Any time I let it, the weight of living creeps in and starts to drag her down.  It would be too easy to say that I feel invisible.  Instead, I feel painfully visible, and entirely ignored.  People talk to her, but it feels like they are outside a house, talking through the walls.  There are friends, but they are people to spend time with, not people to share time with.  There's a false beast that takes the form of instinct and harps on the pointlessness of everything that happens.  
That's a rough life for a kid to have to live.  But not every day that A wakes up is like this.  This was just one reminder about how much a person might be going through whether their outer self shows it or not.  A cool read.  I'd pick it up, soon, if I were you!


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