Taking Tea in the Kasbah

In last week’s question, I presented two career options from which to choose: Hollywood stunt double or volcanologist on a remote island. Nearly twice as many people chose the island setting over the glitz and thrills of Hollywood. The islanders take this one for the win, though the few who opted for a career as a stunt double were mighty convincing.

This question was a bit of a challenge for me since my answer fluctuated with my mood throughout the week. When I was feeling tired and run down, I was easily swayed by tropical island breezes and hammocks on a lanai and freshly made mojitos. When I was more rested and ready for some fun, I turned an eye towards Hollywood and learning how to jump off buildings or drive a motorcycle down a flight of stairs.

So where does this leave me on a chilly winter Wednesday? Lately, I’ve been going full-throttle in all areas of my life and quite frankly, I’m pooped. Worn out. Dang tired. As such, sitting in a hammock on an tropical island with a beverage in hand while keeping an eye on the volcano from my lanai sounds pretty awesome right about now. I’ll send y’all a postcard when I get there.

And now, on to this week’s question…

When I was thinking about what this week’s question would be, I was duly influenced by a really great book I have recently finished reading – Every Day by David Leivthan. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a “wise, wildly unique” love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.


Without giving too much away, the main character, A, wants more than anything to find a way to stop hopping from body to body in order to have a real, day-to-day relationship with Rhiannon. But in order to do that he would have to take someone’s life away from them because he would not only be inhabiting that person’s body, but also his entire life. As I read the story, I found myself wondering what I would choose if I were A. It also seemed like a great Would You Rather question so I thought I’d put it out to you fine people to read what you had to say. Here’s the question:

Would you rather…

live a life like A, continually jumping from body to body every day with the understanding that it’s almost impossible to be with the one you love, but at least you’re not taking someone’s life away from them

– OR –

take over someone’s life in order to be with the one you love?

(I should clarify that by “taking over someone’s life” per the novel means to inhabit that person’s life in its entirety as it exists with his or her family, friends, and school or work suddenly becoming your own.)


So which would you choose, intelligent, thoughtful readers? A life in which the only thing that’s certain is the daily shift from body to body? Or a life in which you’d have stability and consistency, but at a cost to another human’s existence? Dig deep, give it some thought, and then share them below. I always love to hear from you.

35 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Would You Rather… Question: A Life of Change or Consistency

  1. on ,
    Tina W said:

    I thought about the selfishness of taking over someone’s life but as someone for whom life has not smiled greatly upon, I think I would anyway. I guess where you end up does depend on where you start.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Where we start does impact where we end up, but, in my opinion, doesn’t have to dictate it. I’m sorry life hasn’t smiled greatly upon you. I sincerely hope that there are moments when it does and that those moments are what you hang on to and let guide you through life.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  2. I want to tell you my tea-sipping friend, this question is fraught with ethical and emotional dilemmas. I think answer a) jumping from body to body would lead to me to a fragmented psychological state from which I’m not sure that I could recover…so basically whatever body I was in, I’d be depressed and maybe delusional. It seems this is a life without lasting human connection…and that would not bode well. However, the second response b) actually annihilating another person’s existence seems reprehensible. However, since I probably did not choose this weird state of affairs, I would likely choose option B.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Yes, there are many ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in this WYR question. David Levithan did such a brilliant job writing about those very things in the book. I highly recommend reading it to get an even better sense of what the main character, A, was dealing with in it. He (that’s how A identified himself by the end of the book) struggled with those same concerns that you brought up. He thought he’d come to terms with not having any lasting human connections until he met Rhiannon. But he was also a highly moral and ethical character and despite his longing for a “normal” life, he wasn’t sure he could bring himself to take someone else’s life on a permanent basis.

      Connectedness to others is so important for so many reasons, personally and globally. It would be really tough to give that up, though in the story, A has known no other life than that of hopping from one body to another.

  3. The second one, because I’d hate too much change. I’m trying not to think about the person whose life you’ve pinched.

    Sounds a great read!

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Not thinking about whose life you pinched – that would be the hard part, wouldn’t it? Well, that and trying to fit into a life already in progress without changing too much too soon and freaking out that person’s friends and family.

      It is a GREAT read. Highly recommend it.

  4. I’ll stick with me, please.

    What happened if I awoke one day in the body of a person who didn’t like to dance? I could go on and on and on…

    And, on and on and on…

    But, the risk of negative possibilities keeps me from giving them much playtime in my noggin. Yes, the optimist in me knows I might miss out on the good stuff.

    But, I’d rather go forth and conquer all that good stuff myself, in my own body, with my own mind.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Um, I hate to point this out like a big ol’ negative Nelly, but there ain’t no “I’ll stick with me” option in this week’s question. I’d choose to be you, too, if it meant I wouldn’t have to choose option a) or b). Being in your noggin would be a hell of a lot more fun anyway. But sorry, I’m gonna have to call you out on making your own answer. When you’re writing the WYR question of the week (you and Sherry are still up for that, right?), then you can add in a “I choose to not choose” option if you’d like. 😀

      • Well, that sucks is unfortunate, Tami.

        Heavy sigh.

        Okay. So. I’ve too often been disappointed with the one I thought I loved. What if that true love fell in love with someone else, or got hit by a Blimpie’s Sandwich truck, or fell off a pogo stick and developed amnesia?

        Since I apparently [evil eye] have to choose between the two, I’d choose to keep hopping.

        I might eventually take over your writing cave for a day. [repeat evil eye]

        • I’ll bring my own permanent markers. Please have confetti and Elmer’s glue on hand.

          Please and thank-you.

        • on ,
          Tami Clayton said:

          I’ve heard pogo stick accidents are on the rise, so it’s good you have thought this through. I’d hate to think I forced you into settling for your one true love only to find out he’s got a history of pogo stick-related shenanigans and is just asking for a bout of amnesia every time he heads out the door. My advice? Steer clear of both pogo stick conventions AND any towns with a Blimpie’s. Or better yet, keep body hopping. Less chance of being disappointed.

          You can come take over the writing cave any day. Just be wary of classy British actors lurking about asking for directions.

  5. So if I took someone’s life, would it be permanent? Like, could I just borrow someone’s life for an indefinite period? Because if so, I’d camp out with a private investigator or some spiritual authority who could help me figure out a way out of this dilemma. Too hard!

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Great question, Liv. In keeping with the intended spirit of the book, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be permanent, but if you’re inhabiting someone else’s life even for a day, you’re messing with that person’s memories as well as all other aspects of their life. The main character, A, has always lived that way, hopping from body to body and as far as he knows, there’s no one else like him and no known “cure”. He also doesn’t get to choose which body he ends up inhabiting – he just wakes up in a new body each morning.

      He’s known no other way of life, but longs for the normalcy and the consistency he sees in each of the bodies he briefly inhabits. I think he would tell you that if you were going to take over someone’s life for more than a day but not forever, you shouldn’t interfere with their day-to-day goings on. He’d tell you to keep up every one of that person’s regular routines. He’d also highly encourage you to find a way out of the body hopping if at all possible.

  6. I suppose if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose the first option because I’d only be depriving a person of one day of their life, instead of their entire life. But I wouldn’t feel right about that either.

    If I’m going to wish for the impossible, I think I’ll go big and wish to take the form of a giant octopus. Then I’d have many friends and all the ancient sailing vessels I could eat 🙂

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Both options come at a cost, don’t they? Wishing to be a giant octopus IS going big. The main character, A, never once took on an animal form in the book but I guess anything’s possible. He was limited to other bodies the same age as he. If he started branching out into other life forms, there’s no telling where he’d end up. What an interesting book that would be. 🙂

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      P.S. Octopi are not on the list of choices. You can re-submit your answer if you’d still like a chance to be entered in the Gunbrella raffle. 🙂

      • I thought I actually choose the first, but the expression of my choice was a little nebulous, and further obfuscated by my musings of the octopus 🙂

  7. on ,
    Marcia said:

    I can’t get my brain around either option so I’ll go with the “I choose to not choose” option. …But David Levithan’s book sounds facinating.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Like I told Gloria, no can do on the not choosing option. Don’t worry, I’ll corner you in the office for your final answer. 😉

  8. Option #2. Of course! This happens all the time in those Heaven Can Wait type of movies. And there, the premise is that the life you take over was on its way out anyway. It was simply meant to BE.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      I hadn’t thought about all of the movies out there with body-swapping themes. Good point. Except – and I should have stated this in the question – in the story, A can only body hop into bodies that are his same age. Since he’s 16 yrs. old, he only goes from one 16 y.o. (boy or girl, doesn’t matter) to another. When he was 10, he only went to 10 yr. old bodies, when he was 6, it was only 6 year olds, etc. That is the only thing that’s consistent for him. He has no control or choice over whose body he inhabits. So, in keeping with the book, you would take over the body of another person your age and then continue to grow older in that body. Given that, would you still choose option #2?

      • OK, so I chose Option #2. BUT, if that person’s life was NOT on the way out, and I was taking their life from them, well, I could not do that. So I’d have to go with the option #1 of living life in a different body every day.

  9. Well, great. You are trying to see if I have morals and am self-sacrificing.

    I am not happy about this one.

    I guess I have to choose the one that hops everyday. The bad thing is that I think I deserve a true love. It doesn’t always happen. Lots of people find someone that they are compatible with, but do they have a true love. No. That’s why I love reading romance. So, it ALMOST sound wasteful to not grab that chance (that doesn’t always happen) and stick with the body in scenario 2.

    I’ve had this book on my TBR list ever since I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Sorry to make you unhappy so early on a Thursday morning, Brinda. And I believe you have morals and are self-sacrificing, so no worries there.

      You and everyone else deserves true love, which is what I think makes this kind of choice so hard. As Gloria pointed out, though, it is sometimes tough to know which of our loves is that truest of true. And is there just one? I don’t know. Just thinkin’ out loud here.

      If you liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson as much as I did (and I believe we’re in agreement it was a brilliant book), then you’ll enjoy Every Day. (I also really liked Lily and Dash’s Book of Dares, too.)

  10. on ,
    Laird Sapir said:

    Oh WOW. This is kind of heavy for 6am. I am not sure what I’d do! Morally, I imagine you could do a lot of damage, even without intent, to a person’s life by stepping into their body for one day – what if they were taking an important exam? What if they were competing in the Olympics? What if they were heading 2 the Streets with their crew for a mad whack dance off? You perform badly, and they can end up with an eye patch and a chip on their shoulder. So… In that scenario, you could inadvertently be screwing up the lives of 365 people a year – is that worse than taking over the life of one person forever? And, if the powers that be are landing you in that body with the option to stay, is it wrong to take them up on that? Who says the original inhabitant has more of a claim than you do? Neither one of you had a choice in being there, right? Or is that rationalization?
    Aargh! I’m with Mike. Giant Octopus it is!

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Doing damage to a person’s life in only a day – those are EXACTLY the kinds of dilemmas A faces each day. There weren’t any Mad Whack Dance Offs in the book, but if there had been, I’m sure A would have given it his all for the team. The world certainly doesn’t need more disgruntled, patch-wearin’ dancers with chips on their shoulders. 😉

      I don’t know if having the potential to mess with 365 people’s lives is better or worse than messing up just one. I think the original inhabitant of the body you’d be taking over forever might have a slightly better claim on the body since he or she has been in it since birth. Luck of the draw on that? Maybe. But I could see myself saying, “Hey, buddy. I’ve got dibs on this one. Been here a long time. She ain’t the most spritely model out there anymore, but she’s done me good so far. Go find yerself another host. This one’s taken.”

      Also, I have to point out the obvious: this week’s choices did not include giant octopi. (I should have pointed this out to Mike – I will do so post haste.) Your answer may or may not have disqualified you from the Gunbrella raffle. Re-submitted answers are allowed, though.

  11. Oh, did I miss last week? Oops. Must have been all the redundancy trauma…
    Onwards then!
    Um… Not an easy question. I’m going with A, but I don’t like it. But I don’t think my conscience would let me do B – and, besides, what if you got stuck in a crap life?

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Redundancy trauma? I’m really hoping that doesn’t mean I’ve been unknowingly traumatizing you with redundant blog posts.

      There are no easy answers with this one. And it’s entirely possible you could get stuck in a crap life. A experienced his share of them. But I think there’s a measure of control in which life you decide to remain in. A wouldn’t have chosen to remain in a drug addict’s life, but rather he might have chosen a boy with the nice family and interests similar to his. Other than that, he didn’t really have much control over anything in his life.

      • on ,
        Ellen said:

        Nope, you’re not traumatising me. Work is. As in my soon to be former work…

        • on ,
          Tami Clayton said:

          Oh, good. For me, that is. Not so much for you. Sorry it’s been traumatic at work for you. 🙁

  12. Could I end up in a body John Cusack would want to be with day in and day out? That’s the question.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      If it were up to me, then YES. But, I didn’t write the book or the rules, so I’m sorry. No promises on that one.

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