What did you do on July 15th? Maybe you fell in love, maybe your heart broke, maybe you were fired, maybe your dreams came true, maybe you had a fight with your best friend. Maybe your life changed forever. Maybe all of these.
July 15th 1988, Dexter and Emma spend the night of their graduation in bed kissing and talking knowing that afterwards they have to go on with their very different lives, Dexter will go travelling and on with his privileged middle class existence, Emma back to her parents’ home in Leeds. Neither really expects to see the other again, but this is the start of a friendship and love that will last the rest of their lives. One Day tracks their relationship through the next twenty years, always on July 15th.
This was a great book and cleverly written by David Nicholls who also wrote Starter for Ten. I’m sure you’ve heard the massive praise for this book (another one that had me laughing and crying in public) so I just thought I’d share my thoughts on the book very quickly.
Though I really enjoyed the book and liked the characters an awful lot, I find David Nicholls’ writing style a bit strange. His background is in acting and television, and his writing is somehow reminiscent of this, focusing on the establishment of scenes, juxtaposing Emma and Dexter’s situations across the years in a way which is almost visual, and with fantastic dialogue which bounces back and forth in a manner that is reminiscent of sit com banter, funny, but somehow artificial. It reminded me of a diluted literary version of my favourite film, Jeux D’Enfants, the characters unable to acknowledge their real emotions and throwing unnecessary obstacles in the way of their love.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the book was really engaging, presenting characters who are loveable not because of their flaws, but because of the quirky charms that shine through regardless. In a way it’s Starter For Ten grown up. The class conflicts, the arrogant little tosser, the brainy girl, the feeling of being lost and found. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’ve read an author like David Nicholls for capturing the British university experience, and this seems to be an extension of this. I fully sympathise with Emma’s awkwardness, and understand the sarcasm she uses to cover her shyness and unease about life not panning out as she had imagined upon collecting her first class honours. I can even relate to the attempts at inspirational speeches to students who just don’t want to get along.
You can’t miss the hype surrounding this book, even if you missed that it won the Galaxy Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award and the mentions in TV and Radio as the must read book of 2010 there have been countless WordPress reviews of it. The book certainly does not disappoint even after all these accolades. Unsurprisingly, the film adaptation is already in the works, and names like Anne Hathaway (Emma), Jim Sturgess (Dexter) and Romola Garai (Sylvie) mean that it will be a massive box office hit, though the casting of a flawless American smiley smiley beauty as Emma is sure to raise quite a few eyebrows.