3 Following

are you going to finish that?

Every Day - David Levithan And again, I am conflicted between what I liked about the book and what viscerally bothered me about it.I liked the concept and I wish it had been properly explored because there are some interesting questions to be asked regarding the rules that (supposedly) govern A's life (one that's bugging me now: what happens to A between midnight and whenever the new host wakes up, particularly if the new host goes to sleep after midnight? it happens a few times in the book but A only regains consciousness when the host opens his or her eyes). Unfortunately, we don't actually get many viable answers - the concept is mostly a means to an end, i.e. setup for the central romance, and the rules are arbitrarily made up and changed as the story goes along for maximum convenience. I don't actually understand what the point of introducing the reverend (and consequently obliterating the more-or-less established rules) was if the book ended a couple of chapters later with nothing much gained from the encounter.I liked that A is probably the closest we can get right now to an actual genderqueer protagonist. I also liked the tenderness with which Levithan portrays non-heterosexual relationships; I think it's really what he does best. However, he tends to trip into triteness when he tries to give A a comprehensive life philosophy, and I happen to believe that the "people are fundamentally all the same and if we only realised that there would be peace on earth" world view is not only painfully simplistic, it's wrong, and basically the same mistake the proponents of colourblindness make. Differences - be they cultural, ethnic, religious, political - are what makes us what we are, and they are something to be respected in other people, not to be ignored for the sake of making ourselves feel better with minimum effort. But hey, that's just my opinion, etc.The fact that A doesn't always practice what A preaches is a bigger problem. For one, there is a truly nasty fat-people-are-lazy line when A finds hirself in an obese kid's body. A does later note the open disgust and judgement the boy has to deal with from pretty much everyone around him on a daily basis but ze doesn't really reflect on how it affects the host or how A is not an exception to this attitude. All that matters is that A and Rhiannon are temporarily affected by it and it's all the boy's fault for being so gross. I also didn't like the day spent in the Beyonce-girl's body, and the tone A uses when referring to her ~morning regimen~ and wanting to shake her by the shoulders and scream in her face that looks aren't everything. Who says she thinks they are? A sure doesn't know that, not having taken the time to access her. I think the problem is that A truly believes - even after being called out on it by Rhiannon - that waking up as a different person every day gives hir the right to judge people within 5 seconds of meeting them. Guess what: it doesn't!I liked Rhiannon - really, truly liked what glimpses of the real her we got despite the story being told through A's lens. She is thoughtful, and reasonable, and warm. She has flaws, like the difficulty in grasping the idea of transgender and genderqueer people (as evidenced by Vic and A), and yes, a degree of superficiality. She is her own person capable of making her own - often difficult - decisions and doesn't actually need anybody to lay out her life for her. Which is why it's making me super uncomfortable that A spends a lot of hir time acting like your typical Nice Guy, ragging on her being with the wrong guy (yes, he's bad for her, she actually knew it before you enlightened her, and no, it's not your business deciding this after hijacking his body for a couple of hours), stalking her and sulking when she Doesn't Get It. The obstacles Rhiannon sees to a relationship with A are very real; A realises that eventually but honestly, what took hir so long. Some of my favourite moments were those when A saw her as she was with her family, or her friends, out of the context of the weird Justin-Rhiannon-A triangle because while it's important to her, she's not defined by it. I just wish A had drawn the right conclusions by hirself, and sooner. Preferably before she became A's co-conspirator in violating people's lives, but what kind of a story would that be, I suppose....Oh yeah and then, and then, just when I thought A finally realised Rhiannon didn't live at hir beck and call, ze picks her new boyfriend for her?? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. Not to mention it also proves A has learned absolutely nothing about how hir actions affect the hosts' lives because wow, that's extremely skeevy towards both Rhiannon and the guy.Speaking of facing the consequences: it's discussed to some extent in the novel, courtesy of Rhiannon, so let's just talk about Nathan. Poor, poor Nathan who gets thoroughly fucked over and is sentenced to a life of ridicule for speaking out. And yeah, let's pat A on the back for occasionally feeling guilty about it but ultimately, Nathan exists as a nuisance and a pretext for A to talk about wow these religious zealots, crazy, right? ...Yeah, no. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, you have no business piling condescension on anybody for thinking it's a duck.Plus, like I said, even late in the novel A continues to mess up the hosts' lives (the last chapter, anyone? not to mention the guy who was going to his sister's wedding in Hawaii but, thanks to A, stayed behind and got beat up instead), so is "but A isn't evil!" really a legitimate assertion to make just because it's all for True Love? I don't even want to get into issues of consent here but I know what my answer would be if I found out my body had not been my own for a day, particularly if the entity in control of it couldn't care less about what state it was leaving me in.