Sunday, 30 January 2011

One Day

By David Nicholls


15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter 
meet on the night of their graduation. 
Tomorrow they must go their 
separate ways.

So where will they be on 
this one day next year?
And the year after that?
And every year that follows?

Critics reviews:

My Review: One Day isn’t just incredibly touching, funny and clever, but has a beautiful flow, making it one of the easiest (and best) books I’ve ever read. At times it reminded me of Atonement, The Time Traveller’s Wife and About A Boy, stirred into one well written, but real piece of story-telling. 
It had all of the best elements of an epic romance, spread across the ages, but with a twist - each chapter was set over one day for each year.
To begin with I didn’t like the sudden jumps between each year, trying to piece together what had happened since the last chapter. But a few chapters in I began to love the mystery element - anything could happen, just like in real life. It was fascinating to explore Dexter and Em’s whole lives together, the highs and lows. And there were extremes of both. Not only was it fascinating to see where they would go, but what they would become as people. 

In an interview with The Times, David Nicholls said he actually emphathised with Emma more than Dexter when writing the book, “I feel much closer to Emma in my experience and outlook than I do to Dexter. Especially Emma in her twenties. I was much more like that, with anxieties.” 
It’s incredible when a male author can write a women character so exactly. I still marvel at how authors like Nicholls, or Nick Hornby are able to tap into the female mind so distinctly that the character actually speaks to you, as themselves and not through the authors mouth.

So, yes the characters were what made it so brilliant for me. Never have two fictional characters been so fully formed in my mind. I suppose this is partly due to following them as they grow up from graduates in the 80s to where the book ends in 2007. But also because, well a lot can happen over one day. They have conversations, revelations, they cry and laugh, get drunk and... live. There is also a time in the early years where Emma writes these long letters to Dexter, so funny and absorbing, painting the picture perfectly of her life at that moment. And in contrast Dexter sends her one-line postcards from places he’s been, saying for instance “Venice is FLOODED!”. 
You can tell it breaks Emma’s heart to receive so little from him, when she gives so much, but she continues anyway, as she is the much stronger person in their relationship, which endures, miraculously, over a course of about 20 years. 
I can’t say too much about the book without giving massive anything away. 
All I can do is to urge you to read One Day. You definitely won’t regret it. 
Score: 10/10

The film is currently being made starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. It is directed by Lone Scherfig, who has gained huge critical success after An Education. And with David Nicholls himself writing the screenplay, fans can be assured that it will be faithful to the book. 

Here are the currently released film stills...

(Funny story... My mum actually bought this book months ago and read it, and then a few weeks ago I found it on Amazon, thought it looked pretty good and bought it. So we ended up with the same book and neither us knew about it until I started talking to her about what a great book One Day is! It worked out in the end as I gave my spare copy to a good friend on her birthday, so I’m spreading the brilliance of One Day!)

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