Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 332
Narrator and protagonist Madeline Whittier is introduced early in the novel Everything, Everything, by author Nicola Yoon. The reader quickly learns that Madeline is being treated for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and is kept inside her house in Los Angeles, where she lives with her mother and doctor.
Yoon in only a few short pages gives us a strong young woman dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Madeline is hopeful, but tempers her hope with realism. These hopes can be seen in the list of "reward-if-found" that she writes in each of the books she receives.
Madeline hopes for a chance at a beautiful life:
Picnic with me (Madeline) in a pollen-filled field of poppies, lilies, and endless man-in-the-moon marigolds under a clear blue summer sky.
She hopes for a life with a little danger:
Drink tea with me (Madeline) in a lighthouse in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a hurricane.
She hopes for a normal life.
A walk outside with me (Madeline), just down the block and back.
Again, she is hopeful, but she is fully aware of her situation:
Basically, I'm allergic to the world. Anything can trigger a bout of sickness. It could be the chemicals in the cleaner used to wipe the table that I just touched. It could be someone's perfume. It could be the exotic spice in the food I just ate. It could be one, or all, or none of these things, or something else entirely.
She deals with her illness with wit, a humor that at times is dark. Madeline's dark humor can be seen when she draws a comparison between being on death row to her current life living with SCID:
And so I stay on SCID row.
Madeline sees her life as one full of love, and she embraces what joy her small world can provide. As the novel progresses, Madeline takes risks in an attempt to get more from her life, and these risks lead to unexpected results.
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