Books

12 May 2015

Every Day by David Levithan, USA, 2013



I do not read Young Adult books, and Every Day simply emphasizes my resolve not to do so in the future. The idea - of a soul migrating across countless bodies - has promise, but weighed down by child-like concepts and a long list of improbabilities it never lifts off the ground. That which is mind-boggling fails to become thought-provoking, and the story, for me at least, falls flat on its face.

The characters are two-dimensional and extremely clichéd, and it is impossible to connect with any of them. As we know, a relatively secure environment, with at least one constant adult, is essential if a child is to learn the basics of love, trust and good behaviour, and, therefore, the main character, A, having migrated from body to body since birth, should, by all rights, be a psychological mess. But this is not the case; instead he comes across as being well-adjusted, capable of forming a loving relationship and, in most things, a little ahead of his peers intellectually. For me, A is not an ordinary sixteen-year-old but some kind of mirror-reflection of the author himself.
 
Photo of David Levithan from www.abc.net.au
 
A review on the back cover of the book says: This breathless book made me cry. Obviously, the review writer and I cry about very different things; however, assuming that he is probably no more than twelve or thirteen, still thinking like a child and unable to take the step into proper literature then perhaps there are things in the novel that may make him want to cry. I could well have cried after having wasted so much time reading the book.

Finally, I could not but be amazed at the number of sixteen-year-olds with access to cars (often their own), the financial wherewithal to meet the cost of six-hour round car trips, and the absence of any adult intervention when the children decide to take time off from school and engage in under-age sex. Is this the way it actually is in America, or is it wishful thinking on the part of the author and his readers?