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