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Monday, 29 August 2011

'One Day' by David Nicholls

Having bought One Day last year I finally got round to reading it, and finished it last week. Unsurprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The way it is written so that you only get to see one day of each year is interesting, and certainly helped keep me wanting more. Often there would be mention of something important happening the next day, a conversation that as a reader you desperately want to listen in on, and yet you know the outcome of the events will only become apparent in some future chapter.

I enjoyed the younger years more so than the later ones but this may have been more to do with the fact that I could relate more to the situations the characters found themselves in in their twenties. The book is witty and hits the nail on the head in the descriptions of feelings and situations. I found myself somewhat addicted to the book, and yet somewhat depressed by its depiction of growing up.

I certainly felt I could relate to the characters, and was constantly willing Dexter to stop treating Emma as disposable, even though you know that really he cares just as much about her as she does about him.  There were deeply moving passages, especially in the scenes where Dexter was emotionally vulnerable and it was clear he had no idea how to deal with it. I felt more affection toward Emma, although her behaviour was not always ideal. Although it seems you could dislike Dexter the dislike never really materialised.

I found my enjoyment of the novel dwindle nearer the end. The climax of the novel which was clearly meant to be remarkably moving did not move me as much as I was expecting, perhaps because I could see it coming. Saying that I still found my heart beat speed up and had to force myself not to skim over the page to find out if I was right. Perhaps I would have been moved more by it had the characters’ positions been reversed.

All in all a fantastic novel, a real page-turner; in places humourous, in places deeply moving. A realistic and poignant look at the past few decades and what it was like growing up in them. My only problem with it was the incessant will they won’t they got a little frustrating after a while, and yes I’m aware that this is the main premise of the novel. It just felt as though after a while there really was not any need for them not to be together, and that I almost did not think they should be. This did not stop me feeling the hurt of the characters every time something got in their way, especially in the earlier sections of the novel. I thoroughly look forward to seeing the film, and have high hopes for it.



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