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Tuesday
Jan082013

Thank you, David Levithan

Last night I read Every Day by David Levithan (Knopf, 2012). It's the sort of book I want everyone I know to read, so I can talk about it without giving anything away. Starting with the premise: Every day A wakes up in a different body. Til then, here's Day 6009:

Today I'm a boy named AJ. He has diabetes, so I have a whole other layer of concerns on top of my usual ones. I've been diabetic a couple of times, and the first time was harrowing. Not because diabetes isn't controllable, but because I had to rely on the body's memories to tell me what to look out for, and how to manage it.... Now I feel I can handle it, but I am very attentive to what the body is telling me, much more so than I usually am. (166)

I've read many (many) books, but this is the first time I've spontaneously encountered a person with Type 1 diabetes in one: the prevalence appears to be lower than in the general population. Which is surprising, given that Type 1 is most often diagnosed in children and young adults. Case in point: my son Leo, who was diagnosed at age 11, a year ago this month.

Thankfully, I think Levithan gets it right. Diabetes adds another layer of concern to whatever else--a math test, a crush, a soccer game, lunch--might be happening on any given day. It demands a certain, constant level of attention to the body that most of us rarely require. It's the first thing A thinks about that morning.

But the rest of the day, as written, is not about diabetes. AJ is also a regular kid: "It's a relief, in many ways, to be a guy who doesn't mind riding the bus, who has friends waiting for him when he gets on, who doesn't have to deal with anything more troubling than the fact that he ate breakfast and is still hungry." He even eats french fries for lunch. Leo would love that. I did.

Reader Comments (4)

I'm really looking forward to reading this one - glad to hear about the diabetes inclusion - which makes me think about how every kid wants to see themselves reflected in SOME of the books they read - I know this one has some queer/gender content, too. Thanks for sharing this angle on it!
best,
Lee

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLee Wind

What an interesting premise for a book! I imagine that others will find A giving words to their personal experiences also, as he goes through many incarnations. It is rewarding to find a character who knows what life is like for you, and to read how he/she lives similar experiences or emotions.

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLori Norman

It certainly is, Lori--both interesting and rewarding. Thanks for commenting!

January 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

Lee, yes--you don't have to see yourself everywhere, but at least SOMEwhere. Would love to hear your take on this one! [I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner, too--your comment got caught in my spam filter.]

January 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

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