July 22, 2013
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan, photos by Jonathan Farmer
Every You, Every Me
by David Levithan
photos by Jonathan Farmer
Alfred A. Knopf
Evan is just drifting through life without his best friend. He doesn’t think anyone much notices him, not in any way that matters, until he finds the first photo. He isn’t even sure that it’s for him until he finds several more, including one taped inside his locker. This one is definitely meant for him, but no one but Ariel, his best friend, knows his locker combination and she’s not here anymore. Soon he’s looking all around for not only the photos but also the photographer and trying to figure out just how much she knows about what he did to Ariel and who on earth she is.
Levithan has created a moody, first person novel. It is told from the point of view of Evan, a loner who had something to do with the disappearance of Ariel. The reader doesn’t find out what happened until near the end of the book but it is clear by the text that Evan has crossed out that he is carrying a huge load of guilt. Whether or not it is deserved is anyone’s guess until the very end.
Throughout the text are photos. Some are of people. Others are landscapes. Evan has to piece together where they were taken as well as who the photographer is before he can come to understand Ariel and himself just a bit better, because, clearly, he didn’t know her nearly as well as he thought.
Evan isn’t alone in his quest although he is by far the most enthusiastic seeker. Jack, Ariel’s ex-boyfriend, is also along for the ride although much more reluctantly. He worried about Evan’s inability to move on but also madder than hell that Evan questions whether or not he really cares.
Levithan has created a novel that keeps you flipping the pages because you have to find out what happened in the past to understand what is going on in the present; his writing is a lot like life that way.
This is a quick read even when it isn’t a particularly easy read. Still, it is one that I would highly recommend. It would be an excellent talking point on friendship, personal responsibility and innocence vs guilt.