Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

One Day is the story of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley who meet on the night of their graduation on the 15th of July, 1988. The novel then follows them for the next twenty years and catches up on their lives on that one day, the 15th of July.

I can't stress enough how much I loved this book!! I bought it on a whim because I was in the ABC shop and it was sitting up nicely with a First Tuesday Book Club sticker on it, and as I love that show I decided that I would, for once, try and read one of the featured books. I have just returned from Hobart where I was visiting relatives for a few days, and just gobbled this book up in all my spare moments.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book quite so much as I did, especially given that there is barely room for the title of the book through all the critical acclaim littering the cover and I'm sure this novel falls under the category of popular fiction, a genre I generally avoid. However this book is poignant and sad, and funny and so true to life that I think it would appeal to everyone. Sweeping generalisation? Probably. But I, at least, was surprised by how much I liked it.

The characters are likeable, if not consistently. Emma is an aspiring writer who after university gets a job in a dingy Tex-Mex restaurant called Loco Caliente, where the specialty is a fish burrito. Yuk. Dexter, however, somehow always falls on his feet, spending his first couple of years post uni travelling in places like Italy and India until landing a job in television. The whole way through you are desperate for the two to finally open their eyes and get together. However there are the usual complications: misplaced letters, a posh and frosty wife, a stand-up-comedian boyfriend... So do they or don't they finally realise?

Of course I am not going to spill the beans on this one. It is a delightful romantic comedy, such an easy read. I laughed out loud, I cried more than once, I desperately wanted them to figure their lives out, and along the way I learnt a thing or two about living for the moment and when to let go. Plus it is beautifully written, David Nicholls has that rare ability to make you laugh and cry in the very same sentence. I desperately want to go back and read it again and again and again.
"Love and be loved.. if you ever get the chance..."


Beth said...

I LOVED this book! It was one of the most affecting books I've read recently. I made Mum read it as well and we were both devastated by the ending.
I looked for others by the same author, but I don't think they're as good.
This is a gem

nomadreader said...

When I first heard about this book, it didn't really intrigue me. After reading so many gushing reviews, however, I've finally succumbed. I'm looking forward to sharing your enthusiasm for this title!

Ash said...

I love it when a book surprises you! Usually I go in with pretty low expectations for popular fiction books so it's always nice when they're better than expected.

Amused said...

Ok I am totally going to add this book to my to read list. I've never heard of it before but you've sold me!

Elise said...

Beth, I'm so glad you enjoyed this!! We should have discussed it at lunch the other day!

Nomadreader, I really look forward to hearing what you think. I just loved it!

Ash, I am exactly the same, never really pick up a popular fiction by choice but am often pleasantly surprised when I do!

Leah, it is awesome!! I look forward to hearing what you think as well :)

Mariz Denver said...

After reading, I sat and thought about the book as a whole. I think Nicholls gives us a relatable book, not meant to provoke deep feelings, but to reflect on feelings we've had before. That's what I got out of it, at least.

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