Book Review: One Day

I first became aware of One Day when trailer for the movie began appearing on t.v. I watched the trailer with mild interest, thinking it could be a decent rental for one night when the hubby was out of town but figuring I would pass on the book. A few weeks later, One Day was chosen as our next book club book. I put my name on the list at the library and waited…..  month and a half later, I finally got the book, and began reading in a rush to finish it before out next meeting.

Book Review:

One Day

By David Nicholls


The Story: Nicholls introduces the reader to the two main characters of the book in the first scene – Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew are in bed together on July 15, the night of their university graduation. Emma was raised in a working class family, worked hard through school, and hoped to pursue a career in writing. Dexter was raised by a wealthy family, did mediocre in school, and had no real thoughts about the future other than traveling for a year and having fun. They have one night and one day together before going their separate ways.

The unlikely pair, Emma and Dexter remain friends for many years. Nicholls presents a snapshot of their lives (often apart from one another) and their relationship, every year on July 15. Emma struggles to make a life for herself, working in a restaurant and teaching while trying to pursue her writing career. Dexter makes it in the media as a television presenter. He is almost constantly drunk and on drugs.

Review: I had a lot of trouble with this book. The characters just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find them particularly likeable, and got tired of drunk and drugged Dexter. Remember how I feared that there would be too much teenage angst in Revolution for my liking? Well, Jennifer Donnelly managed to do what Nicholls didn’t. While Revolution was heavy and not very uplifting, the book didn’t have the same mood-changing affect on me that One Day did. One Day began to feel like constant sulking after a while. I know not everything is happy and peachy keep, but as I read, there seemed to be a constant black cloud bringing my mood down.

This being said, I appreciate the structure of the book – the snapshots of one day over the years. The book was well-written and the characters were well developed. It was interesting to see the landmarks in Emma and Dexter’s lives, and how those experiences shaped and changed their personalities. Nicholls excelled in showing character progression over many years, despite having only one day a year to do so.

Recommendation: Maybe, for someone who appreciates the writing and the literary structure.

Grade: C+

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