Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Every Day (review)

3.5/5 stars

Every Day by David Levithan is intriguing book but I have a complicated relationship with it.  It's a fascinating and daring premise.  Every day the main character wakes up in someone else's body, treading lightly, trying not to disturb the life their walking in.  The main characters has no parents, body, gender or name of their own.  For the sake of having an identify, the main characters call themselves A. (For the YA readers/TV viewers this may be a poor naming choice).

Then one day, A meets Rhiannon.  She's a beautiful and kind girl.  Suddenly, A wants everything he can never have.  He wants a life of his own, friends of his own and mostly to wake-up and spend every day with her.  This book does have a small case of insta-love.  However, it's unfair to judge it by our understanding of love.  Insta-love is the only kind of love A can ever have, because the next day he's gone.

This book explores Rhiannon and A's attempts to build a relationship while switching between bodies, physiques and genders.  It's really interesting to explore disconnecting the person from the physical aspects.

Yet I feel like Leviathan is preachy about his own beliefs, pushing his viewpoint whether than just letting the reader think.  The lack of understanding that gender might effect Rhiannon's attraction and the implication that she is wrong for that isn't fair.  I'm only attracted to men. Does that make me a bad person? Even though being attracted to one gender is more common, A pushes the idea that it's wrong and judgmental.

After A, breaking his own rules, leaves one borrowed body parked on the side of the highway, when the real person returns he remembers what happened to him.  Because Nathan lacks any explanation, he jumps to the conclusion that he was possessed by a demon.  Then apparently hoards of Christians jump on this bandwagon.  I'm sorry, but I'm not sure when the last time demon-possession was in vogue.  I cannot actually believe that Evangelicals whole-heartedly supported this claim.  Demon-possessions are not really anywhere on the evangelical radar.

I'm bothered by the stereotypical, one-sided almost caricature of evangelicals.  It's not fair and it lacks an understanding of the complex relationship between the bible, faith and what you experience in life.

The concept of this book is interesting, but overall it's a romance.  It carries all the cheesy declarations of loves that come with that.  If the book had focused less on the romance and been more well-rounded in it's portrayals of different belief systems it would've probably rated higher for me. It seems to want people to understand different viewpoints without fairly attempting to understand theirs.  Faith being portrayed so inaccurately is very frustrating, especially when it's also unnecessary.


Mrs. Jones said...

Very interesting. I recently saw this book on Goodreads and thought it looked good, but your review has really made me think.
I dont really like books that push the authors own beliefs on the reader, and I hate sterotypes... so Im not sure how much I would like this book.
However, I will still probably read it, just to see.
great review!

Cassi Haggard said...

I think it's still worth reading because it is very different. Thus far I haven't found another review that was bothered by it's portrayal of Christianity. Maybe it's because I know more about the evangelical culture than other, having gone to a Christian University, volunteered for years at a Christian rock festival and living in the Bible belt. There's a lot of bandwagons people jump on, I just can't imagine that "demon possession" would be one of them.