An Analysis of David Levithan’s novel, Every day
by Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco
To Syme, who has given my every day a dash of colors.
When a person reads novels from the same author, not the ones that come in series (e.g. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Song of Ice and Fire), he cannot help but take note of certain characteristics these novels share in common. It may be because of the characters share similar personalities, language, narration. I cannot blame the novels though as they have sprouted from the same author, like small Athenas borne out of Zeus’s brain. Still, a reader expects a little difference.
Among the Levithan novels I have read including Every Me, Every You, Love is the Higher Law, and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, Every day has a distinct first-person narrative. The other novels’ narratives sound the same to me. One character seems not at all different from someone from another novel. In Love is the Higher Law, I was quite confused as to who’s who. The protagonists’ names are posted in each of the chapters but these don’t do anything to the voices in the chapters. I have no idea if it really is intentional to show how everybody’s minds united at the 911 event but that’s beside the point. Having only one person telling the story from a limited point of view has helped high-light A‘s character in Every day.
The novel’s tag line is definitely catchy:
Every day a different body.
Every day a different life.
Every day in love with the same girl.
The dilemma of the protagonist is how to remain in the same body for more than a day. While a number of people in the world will do anything only to have a different life, A wishes to be stationary. The novel makes me question the whole idea of our bodies being merely vessels of souls. If this is indeed true, then in its nature and purity, souls are sexless. A does not have a sex. When he has been born, he wakes up not knowing any difference between a boy’s body from that of a girl’s and is surprised when he finds himself in a different body, sometimes of the opposite sex. What if more souls like him are out there? Does this answer why homosexuals normally feel they are trapped in other people’s bodies?
The answer to these queries may also give light to how people love. For several years, the orthodox concept of love is between a man and a woman. There must be a reason why a man has different body parts from that of a woman’s. However, if we are going to follow the Levithian concept of soul and if it does exist as sexless, then regardless of the biological makeup of the vessel, as long as it loves, then the Rainbow Parade may seem more meaningful, logical, and soulfully righteous.
This contradiction is shown in Every day in series of events like Rhiannon hesitates holding A‘s hands when he is in the body of a girl. She also does not like to be kissed nor seen in public during such occasions. On the other hand, when A is in the body of a boy, she is willing to go on a date, go a mile to see him, and even have sex. A loves her unconditionally. Though his body is different, he is very consistent in his ardor.
Still on love, A may have a little flaw in this aspect to which Rhiannon keeps reminding him that he does not understand. People say the highest characteristic of love is selflessness. A hasn’t been able to show it until the last part of the novel. He has professed how much he loves Rhiannon and some readers will even find it extremely sweet and romantic that he will go beyond his ways only to see her. This is the flaw. Since it is not his body, he thinks it is fine to sacrifice one’s life, one’s day, for his own. He wants to experience love the way everybody feels. In the end however, he understands that in order to remain with Rhiannon, he has to offer one soul to replace his own fleeting one. The realization that selflessness in love does not only mean making himself happy but making the other person happy in the process hits him and he decides to offer his greatest sacrifice: letting go of Rhiannon.
Had this novel been written in different points of view like how the other novels have been, it would have sucked big time. Perhaps, I appreciate this idea of oneness of the soul. I am glad there is one A that can symbolize everybody. Through him, I can love some more.
For the purpose of this article, I intentionally use he as a pronoun for A for consistency and due to English being a masculine language.
I am in a grey area in terms of my stand regarding homosexuality but I have a number of gays and lesbians who are close to my heart. What is more important is how these people love who they are and that makes me love them more.. Yes, God may have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah but I am not god and I am not going to be my brethrens’ judge as opposed to how other Christians judge LGBT. I guess it is safe to say, I am A‘s supporter.