BOOK REVIEW: Every Day & Another Day by David Levithan
This duology by David Levithan flows with poetic ease and quiet and moves along with a gentle pacing even while tackling some of the uglier, baser sides of human nature. It tackles the unbending will of fate and its ability to rip your heart to shreds.
In Every Day and Another Day, we follow A and Rhiannon’s progression of love, hope and living for another day. No physical body has stopped A from feeling a gamut of emotions — A is in pain, hopping from one body to another. As A opens up, mind and soul to the body carrying around thoughts — the incorporeal being of who A is, the essence of A — other people are affected and question their existence, their thoughts, their actions. People change people; it’s possible. As much as humans claim to exist on a higher plane, to be more intelligent; our very way of life always comes back to the connection of one person to another. We rely upon it, pin our hopes upon it and more importantly define ourselves by it.
In Another Day, David Levithan only reinforces this belief. I know a lot of you were worried that this book would be a sequel of sorts to A’s story. It is not. The harrowing interactions from the first book remain, they are simply told from Rhiannon’s perspective. As someone who has felt, been in the same wandering, painful state that A lives every day, Rhiannon highlights how normal it is for young adults to feel lost, abandoned, unknown to themselves. These characters keenly aware of the "out of my head" sensation that two psyches warring for dominance which makes going from this day to the next a challenge but also a victory. One more day — another day.
The story is as much about Rhiannon and Justin as it is about Rhiannon and A. Their relationship felt very real to me while I was writing Every day -- but you don't see very much of it there. In Another Day, you get to see more of it, and hopefully see how complicated it is. It was very important to me that Justin wasn't a two-dimensional Bad Boyfriend. He has moments, both good and bad, as we all do. As for how I get into the mind of a teenage girl -- as a gay man, I have to say, I have no idea whatsoever what it's like to be in love with the wrong guy.
QUOTE ME: These books do not sit well with you. Or at least they did not with me. They were moving, thought-provoking and under-your-skin intense in ways that I cannot explain. Neither felt uplifting but they both leave you with hope. It’s a weird conundrum because while they turn a spotlight on the horribleness of humans to each other; they also show how people can band together and form a connection even under duress to come out the other side, more smarter, kinder and self-aware… so much so that they do end up making a difference.
In that, I cannot fault them. Any book that makes readers/watchers examine themselves internally and find failings of these sort, deserve attention. You cannot force upon people this kind of introspective meandering but you certainly can spawn thought-provoking, frank discussion that might lead to it. In this way, Every Day and Another Day by David Levithan excel. Check them out, together if you can, only to get the full effect of surging critical analysis needed to survive the emotional fall-out when you begin to look inward after experiencing them both.