I never judge a book by its cover; I also try not to judge a book by it’s first chapter on its own either. I have to admit though that the first chapter of this book was a bit boring. But it is crucial. However, once you get past the first chapter this book is more than worth the time you will dedicate to reading it.
The premise behind the book is very imaginative; ‘A’ the main character (yes that is their name) wakes up each morning to find themselves living inside a different body. Essentially, ‘A’ is a human consciousness without a permanent corporeal form. They drift everyday into a different life and a different perspective on the world. That has how they have always lived.
I say ‘they’ very deliberately as a pronoun because ‘A’ does not identify with either gender, they do not have a preference when it comes to sexuality. They judge people based on their actions and falls in love with people because of their personalities. And that is what ‘A’ does in the book; they fall in love with Rhiannon. The entire book is about ‘A’s desperate attempts to be able to connect with this girl and have a proper relationship with a person that lasts more than just a day.
Now this is actually an entirely normal desire for somebody to have, and how the book works brilliantly as a concept is that it explores what it means to do that. It is very open about depression, body image, gender and sexuality, to the point that I think the vast majority of people in the book would find at least one character to relate to, with the exception that the ideas of asexuality aren’t really explored which I would have thought for a person who lives in a different body each day would be the sort of relationship that could be cultivated.
In truth there is also a bit of body shaming of people who are fat and heavy; as a person on the heavier side, if not the extreme heavier side I know that inhabiting such a body isn’t easy at times, however I really didn’t like the way ‘A’ was very judgemental about that. It is one of the only weaknesses though, in an otherwise brilliant book.
And the reason the book is so good, is because the protagonist has such a unique viewpoint on the world. Having to live like that is not something that we have to experience, and despite ‘A’ taking desperate and at some points doing some really questionable things to other people’s bodies and their lives (even if it is just for a day) we can’t judge ‘A’ for doing this. ‘A’ judges humans for not all being open with different gender identities and sexual preferences, in truth all ‘A’ has to base their experience on is their observation of human life by living so many different human lives.
Every desire they to want make a permanent connection to a person comes from having observed from humanity that doing so is for the majority a desirable thing to do. To have friends; to have lovers; to have siblings you stand up for and are concerned about; and have a loving and respectful relationship with your parents. ‘A’ understands that depression and drug addict has massive effects on the human body and changes a person’s perspective on their life and others. ‘A’, learns that from us.
We can’t really be too harsh on them for taking desperate measures in order to try and have what comes so easily to the rest of us. I mean how many of us can say we didn’t do something a bit silly when we were sixteen and in love. ‘A’ is a teenager, and learning about growing into an adult is what being a teenager is all about.
And in the end A does come good; the resolution is beautiful.