Sometimes, when I like to write things, I like to start by asking a question: what if? But this time, I’m not going to, because in a way, we already know.
In the time that we all have spent in isolation, trying to cope through this god-forsaken pandemic, we have all had to change. We have had to learn how to keep our distance, protect ourselves and look after our own well-being. This is a very worrisome and troublesome time for all of us, but we will get through this eventually.
But imagine if we had to do that every single day of our lives…
In Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, we meet Maddy Whittier. Maddy is living with a condition called Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) – if she ever goes outside, she could die. For eighteen years, all Maddy has had is her mother and her kind nurse, Carla. But when new neighbour Olly moves in with his family next door, Maddy begins to want to learn more about the outside world, experience everything that she is missing out on… and how much she is willing to risk to do so…
There was a case many years ago about a bubble baby named David Vetter. He lived out his entire life literally in a bubble. Although many attempts were made to help him experience life, sadly David died of complications of his illness at the very young age of 12. To read about the fictional story of Maddy and the real life of David makes me realise that in many ways, we are lucky.
Yes, we are living with the risk of serious illness, but with proper caution and care, we can still go back to our lives, albeit a little different. Imagine if we had to live in bubbles, never being able to experience everything that we take for granted in our normal lives. This book has made me think about that.
Everything, Everything is a book about love – not just romance, but the love in a family. It shows how love can make people do things that can have dire consequences. Maddy’s love for Olly makes her risk her life to experience the outside world. Maddy’s mother’s love for her daughter makes her go to extreme lengths to care and protect her daughter…but at severe costs.
This book definitely makes you question what it would be like if you had to live your whole life completely in isolation. It makes you ask how far you would be willing to go to experience life, and what love can make you do. I would certainly say read this book as it’s definitely better than the film.