Chapter 1 Summary
As Every Day begins, A awakes and begins the usual morning ritual: “Immediately I have to figure out who I am.” Every day, A inhabits a different body—male or female, dark-skinned or light-skinned, gay or straight. These bodies are all approximately A’s age, which is sixteen at the moment, but their lives are otherwise as varied as human lives can be.
(As the story progresses, it will become clear that A either has no gender or is both male and female. For the purposes of these summaries, A will be referred to as he when he is in a male body and she when she is in a female body.)
Today A awakes as a boy named Justin, a video-game-playing smoker who stayed up too late last night. A knows this both because Justin’s body is tired and because he can access Justin’s memories. With effort, A can learn any factual piece of information that this body knows. Feelings are impossible to access, so A’s feelings are his own.
This morning, A dislikes Justin immediately. He reflects:
It’s hard being in the body of someone you don’t like, because you still have to respect it.
A shows respect for the bodies he borrows by going through the motions of their lives without changing anything. Any attempt to change a life, even for the better, can cause unintentional harm. It is hard for A to live with this afterward.
After a hurried and silent breakfast with Justin’s parents, A drives to Justin’s school. There he meets Rhiannon, a girl who looks at him with so much hesitancy and hope that A does not have to check Justin’s memories to know she is his girlfriend. When she seems surprised at the gentle way A speaks to her, his dislike for Justin increases.
A knows that he should not try to get to know Rhiannon. When he was younger, he “took other people’s lives personally,” but “it was too heartbreaking to live with so...
(The entire section is 740 words.)