Maddy is trapped inside her own house. She suffers from a rare disease; she’s allergic to the world. Her mother and nurse do everything they can to keep her safe, limiting her contact with people and ensuring everything that comes into contact is sterilised. Yet when a family moves in next door she watches their lives, and realises she wants to meet the boy next door.
I really feel a bit cheated by Everything, Everything. I thought it would be a fascinating exploration of what it’s like to lead such a restricted lifestyle, where going outside might very well kill you. As I was reading there were so many things that didn’t seem quite right and I got to a point and then there’s this thing, which pretty much exonerates the author from all of what felt like poor research.
Maddy supposedly has SCID, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, which I looked up after reading the book. She says she is allergic to everything but the disorder is actually a severely compromised immune system which means she would be very susceptible to picking up bacteria, viruses and fungal infections and be unlikely to fight them off by herself. That’s not an allergy (in which the immune system over-responds to mostly harmless substances).
The SCID would have made more sense at some points. Like she is allowed paper books as long as they have been through a sterilising process. I would have thought an ereader would be a much more sensible option for keeping allergens out, yet brand new books are not likely to contain pathogens. Still, there are comments that are clearly referring to not knowing what kind of things could kill her, going back to her being highly allergic.
Maybe it started out as a story about a girl with allergies but it got lost along the way, along with a misdiagnosis. Plus it’s very short and doesn’t give much time over to the other characters, who really do have their own problems that deserved more development. I liked Maddy’s voice so it was a bit frustrating that the rest of it felt rushed. More like a first draft than a finished piece of work.
I can understand Maddy’s recklessness though. A desire to lead a life that seems effortless to others. What is life if you are restricted to viewing it through other people? If you can never go out and experience it yourself? Is it worth the risk of death?
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Also reviewed @ No More Grumpy Bookseller | kimberlyfaye reads
Book Source: Purchased
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