One Day by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day is a novel that took me about nine months to finish. Why would it take me nine months? Because about halfway through the book, I started my reading slump, which has lasted from about the beginning of last September to the beginning of May this year. So it took me a while to finish it, and it wasn’t even reading One Day that ended my reading slump. It was reading Mother Tongue.

So yeah, that’s also why I didn’t post a lot last year and at the beginning of the year. It was because I had nothing to post about.

To go back to One Day, I decided to read it after seeing the movie, so I already knew what happened, and everything was kind of faithful to the book. Except having Anne Hathaway playing a British woman, but that’s a rant for the movie review, not the book.

Summary

One Day has a dual point of view. First, there is Dexter. He comes from a wealthy upper class, typical British family. Dexter is confident, booming, careless, and appealing.

Then there is Emma. She comes from a middle-class family, full of doubt, principles, and convictions. And most of all, charming without really trying or knowing it.

The story begins on the 15th of July 1988. Margaret Thatcher is still the Prime Minister, and Dexter and Emma just spent the night together. They don’t know it yet, but that night will define the rest of their lives.

Through the years, Emma and Dexter will look for each other, lose each other, love and hate each other, split up. Hopefully, they’ll figure out, one day, that they were meant to be together.

Review

As I said before, I read the book because I kind of fell in love with the movie and the way the story was told. Usually, what I don’t like about standalone, is that you only get a glimpse of the real-life and personality of the characters. And with the type of narration in One Day, I did not feel like that at all. Emma and Dexter felt like real people, with a life, friends, a story, and evolving personalities.

The story really touched me because it follows Dexter and Emma through most of their lives, at least their adult lives. You can really see how they change, but most importantly, why they make the choices they make. The format of the story really allows the author to delve into the psychology of his characters, which is really rare, aside from book series that span over multiple years.

Spoiler

It’s also a beautifully sad story. Even though they are clearly in love with each other from the first pages of the book, they don’t get together until they are in their forties, which is kind of sad when you think about the beautiful, happy, and fulfilling life they could have had. Had they just had the courage to tell the other how they really felt.

Of course, you could also argue that neither Dexter nor Emma were ready to spend their lives with each other when they met. And that, they choose instead to be friends, not to screw up a beautiful and somewhat fulfilling friendship, even if neither was truly happy.

Should you read it?

If you’re a fan of romance novels but don’t like cheesy ones, you should definitely read One Day. And even if you don’t like romance that much, I would still highly recommend that you read the book. Because it’s such a relatable story. Everyone has a thing that was perfect for them but has happened at the wrong time, whether it’s meeting someone or a new job. This story, I think, will resonate with everybody.


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