My Facebook memories reminded me of this photo I uploaded five years ago. (How could this possibly have been five years ago?)
The best part of this memory is that it reminded me of the discovery of one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. This particular book opened my eyes to a world I hadn’t considered before. It’s one of the catalysts in helping me transform into the open-minded, open-hearted liberal that I am today. I don’t mean liberal in the political sense, but in the social sense. You see, friends, I was raised in the conservative South around gun-toting “Christian” republicans who, through no fault of their own, are often extremely narrow-minded.
I don’t fault them this. I don’t begrudge them this. I grew up in this conservative bubble and we were happy. We didn’t have hurtful political discourse. But moving and living in a new environment and opening myself up to the life experiences of others helped me to become the person I am today. And I kind of love the person I have become.
Every Day by David Levithan fell into my lap during this transitional time. I had always supported my gay friends. I had always supported gay marriage as an idea, but I didn’t quite get it as far as fighting for equality when. I supported it because it impacted my friends’ lives, not because it affected the fabric of our nation, of our society and world.
Not that gay marriage is the central focus of this book, but this book led me to evaluate my beliefs and thoughts more closely.
About Every Day
Every Day is narrated by a character named A. A is an intelligence, a non-definable existence that wakes up in a new body every day. Every day of its like, A has awoken as a new person. It’s an interesting concept. A is in control of the body it’s in and in that body’s consciousness, but A has access to that body’s memories. And for the most part, A tries not to disturb the body’s life as it currently exists. Until one morning when A wakes up in the body of a
loser really awesome, misunderstood young man named Justin. A falls almost immediately in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. A learns that Justin and Rhiannon’s relationship isn’t exactly what it should be, so instead of passively existing in Justin’s life, A intervenes to give Rhiannon the most beautiful day imaginable.
And all is well.
Until the next day, when A wakes up and can’t stop thinking about Rhiannon. A begins to break all of its rules. A must see Rhiannon. The connection there is inexplicable, but it’s real. It’s tangible.
A begins working harder and harder to make it possible to see Rhiannon. Eventually, A reveals its lifelong secret/truth to Rhiannon. Naturally, she is skeptical, but is eventually persuaded. She wants to see A as well and works to make it possible, despite the obstacles and complications of it all.
Unfortunately, however, A‘s presence begin to cause disruptions in the wider realm. People are noticing A‘s existence and it may mean ruin for A.
Every Day is a beautifully written novel. David Levithan is an editor–he’s Maggie Stiefvater’s editor, in fact–so he knows what a good book is. His treatment of characters is beautiful. He makes the real. He makes them vulnerable. He makes me love them. (Surely by now in my reviews, you have learned that I love a character-driven novel.) He keeps the plot moving forward. He keeps things interesting and fresh. Not to mention, the premise is so unique and exciting.
I couldn’t put Every Day down. I genuinely skipped a night of sleep for it. It was amazing. It was captivating. It was everything I wanted in a book.
As I said, Every Day is not a book that, at its core, is about homosexuality or gay marriage, or anything like that. What it is about, though, is love. It’s about loving a person despite their appearance, despite their physical characteristics. It helped me realize what Lin-Manuel Miranda best articulated: “love is love is love is love.”
It’s one of those rare books that, even after all this time, stands out in my memory bright and whole and beautiful and detailed. I’m still hung over from Every Day. Lucky for me, there was a prequel, Six Earlier Days, and a sequel Another Day. With a third full book in the series, Some Day to come out this year. However, Every Day stands on its own as an amazing book.
I cannot wait for the release of this movie. I’m so giddy over it, I may reread Every Day in preparation.
The Plucky Reader
Who invented love? Where does it come from? Are there rules in love? Do humans possess ability to love unconditionally? Take Jesus Christ out of equation, who didn’t feel like dying, in fact He prayers: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will”— nothing between humans makes sense. All love starts in eternity and it is God’s idea and it is unconditional, often sacrificial, unless we ask Him to give it to us, it is not real, it doesn’t mean anything and it will dry up in time. I know Christians can be disappointing and often wrong, but that changes nothing about God, who He is and Him being a source of all love. I’m sure it is brilliantly written, that is a saddest part for me, if God has nothing to do with love because if He is anything , He is LOVE.
You’re not wrong. God is LOVE and God is at the center of my marriage. But I don’t believe that it is impossible for somebody without God to feel love. I think Love is the thing that God gave us to help us understand Him. To help us come to Him. Sometimes we misunderstand and fall short, but that doesn’t mean that Love itself isn’t a God-given emotion and connection.
I also know that my denying somebody else’s love simply because it’s not rooted in Christ is not going to bring anybody to a relationship with Christ. That kind of discourse makes the people in my life, with whom I’m actively trying to show Christ’s love, resistant and obstinate.
Yep, humans like castles, in ruins, but nonetheless, castles! I think you have a gift for writing. However a message that we bring to next generation must be clear on spiritual matters, whether it offensive or pleasing to the ear – God is the one we must strive not to offend. Love runs out, love is limited, often it is selfish and not love at all – only pure last. The only way for relationships to last here and in eternity is to rely on God’s unconditional love that we do not possess. Every other type of love will finish, will end, will disappear – surely you must see this all around you. I’m rooting for your book and I hope you will see that truth/love/reconciliation is a constant, works in the same way for any generation, nation, time in history. We can’t change it: in the 50’s they used to ‘cure’ homosexuality by electric shock treatment & the rest of it and today we celebrate it as equal, worthy,whole feelings?! Human opinion does vary and that is why it will never be my measuring rod. 🙂