Newest Review: ... 15th July. The premise sounds good enough, right? Emma is a smart, outspoken girl who can appear a little snobbish but definitely means... more
So good, I can't really sum it up in one sentence....
One Day - David Nicholls
Member Name: Holland1
One Day - David Nicholls
Advantages: Believable characters, great observational writing, not predictable, funny yet moving
Disadvantages: Some sad parts at times
The premise of the book is something that really appealed to me. It revolves around two main characters, Emma and Dexter, who become friends after having a little fling at their graduation and then the book follows them through the years as they begin adult life and encounter the twists and turns that life offers us all. It follows them as they try to find their way through life's complexities, revisiting them on St Swithin's Day each year, which marks the anniversary of when they first met.
The overriding plot is that of the tentative relationship between the two. They seem to have a "Ross and Rachel" connection and we are left wondering if they will ever get together or if they are fated to miss their opportunities and end up with other people. I wouldn't really describe this as a romance though, it offers so much more than that, and is a great read touching on modern day living and life's ups and downs.
One of the things I loved most about this book, was that it wasn't your usual predictable storyline or characterisation. The character of Emma is very very likeable, and she reminds me a little of myself when I first left university; lacking in confidence, harbouring a dream but working in jobs she hates, slightly directionless and unsure of everything around her.
Her male counterpart in the novel, however, isn't particularly likeable, until you get to know the character a bit better. He is extremely arrogant, loves anything pretentious, doesn't treat his friends or family particularly well, and we are left wondering what anyone sees in him. There are times in the book, however, where you feel sorry for him, and we see a bit of a glimpse into his home life and vulnerable side which reminds us we are all human, and he isn't such a bad guy once you get past the persona he puts on.
I like this yin and yang thing the main characters have going on. All too often in these kind of books, the main characters are unrealistically perfect, and you end up with some boring story about two charming, lovely, can't-do-wrong characters who fall into each other's arms and YAWN, my interest is lost with such predictability.
There are a few other characters who play important roles in this book, but to talk about them might be a bit of a spoiler, so I will just sum them up by saying that the characters are all very believable and engaging.
I found this book so refreshing, as it kept me guessing all the way through as to whether these characters would end up getting together. It is a reality check for most people, that sometimes things don't always work out the way you had planned, and life is very far from being a fairytale. The characters are completely believable, and they both have a dark and very imperfect side at times, which is true of most of us. I like the fact that the man who is the centre of so many women's attraction, isn't idolised as being Prince Charming, in fact most of the time he treats the people closest to him badly and you are left wondering why anyone would like the guy, let alone be in love with him.
After reading this book, I watched the film version shortly afterwards, and although I enjoyed it, I have to say the book is infinitely better. There are so many little details which aren't picked up in the film, as is usually the case, and the style of writing by David Nicholls is absolutely superb in capturing emotions and providing humour mainly through observation. I found myself practically reliving my twenties, as he sums up how around 90% of people probably feel, myself included, after finishing a degree and not knowing what to do with your life. This would make particularly powerful reading for anyone in their twenties who is feeling a bit directionless, as it's a useful reminder that it's normal to feel that way and you're not alone in feeling unsure of yourself and what lies ahead. Ultimately, life is all about the journey rather than the outcome, and so many people get so focussed on their future they forget to live their life to the full in the present day. This novel is a powerful reminder of that.
David Nicholls' style of writing encapsulates everything that is true of modern living. He talks of a generation of dreamers, who have mundane jobs but keep their dream alive, for example when Emma works for a restaurant and is trying to be a writer, she greets a new member of staff by asking what his "stroke" is, by which she means everyone is trying to be something else: waiter/comedian, waitress/writer, waiter/poet. This rings true for anyone who's ever had a dream, or anyone who is in a job they hate.
Although this is so much more than a "romance" novel, Nicholls deals with the modern day relationships very well. He manages to bring out every kind of emotion possible, and I had to be careful where I read this book after laughing out loud in the staff room at work several times, and on one occasion actually crying in the garage when waiting for my MOT to be done (and yes, it was the book that made me cry, not the price of my MOT!). He writes about the first excitement of new love, the annoyances and habits you discover when you move in with someone, the tendency for everyone to be settling down later in life these days, and how the thirties are the new twenties which see a flurry of wedding invitations arriving on the doorstep, all trying to outdo each other. He describes hen do's being organised by a bossy bridesmaid, ensuring there's no chance of spontaneity or fun, which made me chuckle after being on several goddam awful hen do's and consequently refusing to have one for myself when I got married earlier this year!
I could go on forever about this book, I loved it so much. But rather than spoil it for you, the best I can advise is that you read it for yourself. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Summary: Brilliantly written, read it before watching the film