Friday, 30 January 2015
The story follows A as he/she tries to lead a normal life when everything about her/his/its (hir?) life isn’t. A changes bodies every day, never having owned their own (yeah, I’ll go with their, although I thought of A as 'she' while listening). I find this concept mindboggling. How does one define themselves without not just a body, but a life and an identity that never change. A family, a history that belongs to you. Without friends that know the real you, not the person you’re inhabiting. None of this is part of A’s life. A has to adjust to their body and life changing every day without having any control over it. It sounds like the stuff of nightmare, but A has decided, now at the age of 16, to accept it and go with the flow, to live in the present and not worry about it too much. Until A meets Rhiannon and falls in love with her.
Now, I can’t tell much more without giving it away, but let me tell you it kept me hooked till the very end. It’s not a perfect book by any means, but I loved it all the same. It explores many issues: body image, identity, morality, sexuality, love. Especially love. We like to say that it’s what’s inside that matters. That the physical part is not as important as one’s personality, one’s “soul”. But do we really mean it? How much of our love or infatuation is based on appearances, on the physical aspect of it? I am not ashamed to say that for me the physical side is very important. I fall in love with the person as a whole, I love their personality and mind as much as their bodies. But with A you can only get one immutable aspect of the package. The rest is up to fate. Loving A would mean loving a ‘conscience’ but not a ‘person’, at least not in the way we’re used to. For this reason, and for many others (lack of lasting relationships, including the love of one’s family, for one) my heart ached for A. It still does, if I think about it. I read some reviews where people were outraged by A’s behaviour. They resented them the way they “used” their bodies, for their own purposes. I would agree with this view if A had any choice in the matter. If A had a body to return to and used their powers to do as they please, while hijacking other people’s lives, but that’s not the case. A has NO body, NO life of their own. What are they supposed to do, surrender to their fate and pretend to be someone else their whole life? Be completely selfless and devote their life to be as invisible and innocuous as possible? Just passing through, pretending they don’t exist? It seems cruel, to ask this of someone’s life. It’s easy to accuse but what would you do, especially if you fell in love? And remember, A is only 16.
In any case, whether you'd love the book or not, it'd still be worth reading (or listening!), even if just to boggle your mind for a while.