Every Day (David Levithan)

Every Day is a novel by David Levithan.
Finished on: 2.6.2018

Content note: fatmisia, transmisia

Every day, A wakes up in a different body. It’s always the body of somebody as old as them, but it’s never the same body twice. Ever since they can remember, this has been their existence, and A is pretty much resigned to it by now, never telling anybody about it in the 17 years they have existed this way. That is, until they wake up in Justin’s body and meet Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon. The two spend a magical day together and A realizes that they might just have found a life they are not willing to let go all that easily.

Every Day was a nice, quick read, building from an interesting idea. But unfortunately, what it builds to didn’t work for me and left me uninterested in reading further, although there is a sequel and a sidequel and a prequel.

Book cover for the novel, showing stills from the film adaptation.

First of all, I have to say how cool it is that we are dealing with an non-binary, pansexual protagonist in this book. Would it have been nice if it hadn’t needed a kind of magical soul-creature to get that? Yeah, sure. But I’ll take what I can get. And at least, the novel is pretty clear about it and lets A spell it out. Nevertheless, we do get the straightest version of a love story possible under these circumstances, which I found a little annoying. (I sometimes struggled with calling them “they” because they often read so male. I’d have to do an in-depth analysis if that’s because almost all of the major emotional things between Rhiannon and A happen when they are in a “male body”, but I think that’s a statement that holds true.)

But not half as bad as the chapter where A inhabits the body of a trans kid that could have used (more) sensitivity reads checking the concepts underlying A’s take on being trans and fails to challenge Rhiannon transmisic reactions. She says some bad thimgs and nobody tells her to stuff her prejudices elsewhere, nor do we get to see the hurt she causes with her remarks because the trans person isn’t even present. Instead it’s A who patiently explains (in a problematic way).

Equally aggravating, but for me as a fat cis person on a much more personal level, was the chapter where A wakes up in a fat body and immediately starts to comment on how heavy everything feels and how they can’t move the way they like etc etc etc. And you know what, no. A fat body doesn’t feel heavy all the time, because guess what, fat bodies are used to carrying around the weight and have the muscles to go with it. Also, fat bodies can be as mobile or immobile as thin bodies, thank you very much. The entire thing read like fat spectacle masquerading as empathy. It was simply horrible.

I also could have done without the grand conspiracy angle that pops up later in the book. It didn’t really add anything to the story, seemed designed primarily for a possible sequel and I just couldn’t be bothered to give a fuck about that.

Finally, I don’t know what to make of A’s changed behavior when they wake up in Rhiannon’s body. The way they treat her as opposed to everybody else they inhabit makes all their interactions with previous hosts retroactively feel kind of weird, I have to say.

All of that being said, I did not hate reading Every Day. In fact, I enjoyed it for the most part. But I really don’t care enough for it and about A to want to continue reading about them.

Summarizing: Worth it for the concept.

1 thought on “Every Day (David Levithan)

  1. Pingback: Every Day (2018) | kalafudra's Stuff

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