Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
“It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
Twenty years, two people, one day.”
I have enjoyed both book and film versions of other stories by David Nicholls so it was without much thought or prior research that I picked this one off the shelf. The format and concept for One Day is great. The flashes of Em and Dex’s lives gives us a clear sense of what they’re going through, advancing the story at pace, without needing all the details. It works for the 20 year time period the narrative covers and is deftly used to show both how quickly things can change and also how monotonous life can be. Thankfully, the quality of Nicholls’ writing takes this a step up from chick lit or I fear I wouldn’t have got on with it so well. Although in many ways this is not the most literary of reads, it is thoroughly engaging and moving tale about genuine characters. I imagine this is the kind of book that sparks either a love it or loathe it reaction in people. I have a feeling it does much better with people who have had similar experiences in their own life (guilty!)
This is a refreshingly genuine, imperfect, messy and sad love story. Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Em’s story resonates with me deeply. Whilst some would argue that the hurt and desire of being in love with your best friend is a well-trodden path in literature, it’s one I can relate to all too well. I’ve been struggling with my own version of Dex over the years and as such Em’s frustrations and yearning feel genuine and justified. Both Em and Dex are imperfect beings and not always wholly likeable but they are all the more real for that.
If you like this, you might like: Other books by David Nicholls, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes