I pondered through the charity book shelves, idly searching for something that I wanted though what that was one did not know. In a way that is the way shopping in charity shops tends to be, one never enters with a particular urgent need, one may be somewhat lackadaisical or of course I do often do be throwing my change into a wishing well- donating a few euro and hoping for what one hope to credit as a great find. My find was the 2009 Bestseller, One Day, by David Nicholls. She was the recommendation of a friend that would go unread for many months, but eventually read it I Did.
When looking at the cover I was doubtful, thinking I like romantic comedy films, but the idea of over four hundred pages, of love, sadness, heartache, and some more love seemed to me as possibly being a minor marathon, however, eventually I glanced inside.
And then, against the odds, the opening of the story pulls me in as the reader is allowed to absorb the characteristics of the novel’s protagonists. As we watch the two students, Emma and Dexter, converse while in bed, what seems to be an all-nighter, that is that much love making, but more conversation, the reader is allowed to create their own unsearched perspective of the characters. I indeed, casted my usual assessment – making one my friend and casting a slice of distrust over one.
This first chapter is on July 15th, 1988, the date known as St. Swithin Day, is the method used in the story where the reader follows the main characters’ lives over a twenty year period. In which it is seen how, Emz and Dex, as the reader come’s to know them, would pursue different futures.
Emma’s opens the novel by stating her aspirations, ‘’ I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference’, while we learn that Dexter plans to travel the world, but not so much to make a change, but have a good time.
And the reader feels that the characters are in many ways, seeking different things- one seeking love and ambitions, the other filled more with lust and adrenaline.
Emz is disappointed with her post university life – as she works in as a waitress in a commercially filled to the prim fast food restaurant, Tex- Mex, in London. Contrastingly, while Emma aspirations seem planted on a broken elevator, Dexter is living a life of – Sex,Drugs, and Partying while he travels the world, before landing a hedonistic career as a presenter of late night youth TV.
Eventually, Emz escapes the hell in that is the restaurant and becomes a teacher enters a relationship, with Ian, a non-humorous, but loving comedian.
Dexz world is saturated with what seems a self-obnoxious, addiction to drugs, drink and fame, through a hollow TV career. But his life reaches the hilltop and the reader watches him slide rapidly down the popularity ladder. Indeed, a key moment is this change of fortune.
Consequently July 15th, 1995 is when the fading friendship seems crack, and it is where Emma announces that she loves him, but no longer likes him. As a reader, I felt she should have thrown a few more insults, but hey that’s just my opinion….
Reading, One Day, I must state that the opening was immensely humorous, and I was drawn to the story. The structure in which it is built, and how July 15th is as a base for major events, shows the cleverness and skill in Nicholls work. However, maybe it was a personal addition to the fantasy genre that had me feeling a little idle minded half way through, as if for a few chapters losing my tight grip of the story.
That was possibly because I believed the ending was predictable, but this prediction was wrong! I bow my head in shame…
More importantly the novel has a great start and fantastic ending, and I would say what Meat Loaf says, ‘’Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’’.
The books filled with humour, romance, dejection and melancholy; and indeed possibly the greatest skill of Nicholls is how he expresses and makes a fusion of these in the novel.
So in short, One Day, is a profound read.
And if you read the book and seek the movie: https://youtu.be/zVuuooZqVaU