Quantcast
Latest Stories

REVIEW:

The Daily Show with David Levithan

By

David Levithan may write fiction for young adults, but his work beguiles readers of all sorts. You just have to be hopelessly romantic and optimistic. It’s his ability to render real life as both stunningly concrete and yet endlessly poetic that wins them over. Ironically, he may be best known for two captivating collaborations, 2006’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” with Rachel Cohn and 2010’s “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” with John Greene.

But Levithan is a superior talent by himself, and he proves this once again with his 10th novel, the inventive “Every Day” (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012, 324 pages). He loads up the book with a killer premise and then runs with it. A boy known only as A wakes up every morning as a completely different person and then changes again at midnight: “Every day I am someone else. I am myself—I know I am myself—but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.”

Each person A wakes up as is a fully formed character with his or her own problems and advantages, and Levithan takes the opportunity to click through a gallery of teenage personalities but taking the time to avoid making them stereotypes: Girl, boy, gay, athlete, geek, rocker dude, mean girl, and so on.

A had grown used to the endless getting-to-know-you process, until day 5,994 when he is 16. On this day, A meets a fragile, sad girl named Rhiannon, and falls in love. Now he faces a problem: How to talk and be with one girl if he is changing every morning? As he moves closer to Rhiannon, A has to deal with a boy he had taken over who seems to remember the experience and believes A is the devil.

Conceit

Levithan adroitly puts “Every Day” through its paces by never removing the central conceit (the daily transformation) from the issues that A has to tackle. Just when you think you have Levithan all figured out, he throws in a completely game-changing element— and then does it one more time before “Every Day” is over. It’s enough to make you dizzy if you weren’t so involved in the story.

As with any Levithan book, “Every Day” features prose that becomes irresistibly poignant at times, parading passages such as this one: “This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”

There are many themes running loose in “Every Day”: Destiny, randomness, growing up, faith, despair and, ultimately, the bittersweet nature of really falling in love for the first time. A is doomed to go through the length and breadth of a 26-year-old’s possible experiences endlessly, but it all changes when he meets the right—or wrong—person. How it plays out may not be perfect, but it is as close to the harsh unpredictability of real teenage life as you can get, with Levithan as willing witness. The pages fly past, real life intrudes and everything is new and double-bladed. The man knows what he’s doing.

Even the most jaded readers will find Levithan’s plot to be interesting, but teenaged readers searching for answers to their own questions, and those older who still hold on to their teen-year questions, will find a winning reading experience in “Every Day,” especially if you come to believe what David Levithan, chronicler of the brokenhearted but steadfastly hopeful, is trying to remind all of us: “Every person is a possibility.”

Available in paperback from National Book Store.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Arts & Books , Book Review , Daily Show , David Levithan , Language , Literature , Young Adults



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  8. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  9. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  10. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  9. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
    Marketplace