Saturday, January 23, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls


One Day by David Nicholls is a saga spanning 20 years. We follow Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew from the day they graduate from university and the next 20 years. Each year we meet them on July 15, where the author takes us through both the current day's happenings and the things which has happened over the past year for Emma and Dexter respectively.

On the night of their graduation, Emma and Dexter fool around a bit, make out even, and the night has the promise of something great and romantic, but priviledged Dexter is all set to spend some years travelling the world, while the lesser priviledged Emma is going to find a job - any job - and make a bit of a living. So the morning after graduation, they go their separate ways, and we - the readers - go inside Emma and Dexter's minds, lives, failures and successes.

This book is a long one. And it wasn't really for me. I couldn't really connect with either Emma nor Dexter, even though they have almost the same age as myself and even though we grew up during roughly the same periodes. There should have been plenty to identify with, but instead I got tired with them and their personalities. David Nicholls writes well and the book is well written, but the story didn't grab me at all. Neither was I touched by the story. I was actually a bit disappointed with the whole thing. I failed to see how the Emma and Dexter personalities developed through the years, to me it felt like they remained pretty much the same. Of course, this may be on purpose to show us that whether we are 22 or 42, we remain the same. That said, I did finish the book, and the last third of the book where Emma and Dex are grown ups was quite good.


This book is read as part of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge where I am reading for the Easy Challenge with one book pr. part of the world. This one is read for the Europe-part. Read more about the challenge here.

10 comments:

Vivienne said...

Sorry to hear that it didn't work for you, thought I can see what you mean about the characters not really growing up with time. I don't think anyone would have the same outlook twenties years on. I know I definitely haven't.

Dorte H said...

I agree that characters should develop over time, at least over twenty years. Basically one may be the same person, but I soon grow tired of grown-ups who still behave much like teenagers.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy this book as I got a copy last week. I loved Starter for Ten, so was hoping this one would be just as good. I still plan to read it at some point, but will be prepared for it not to be as good as I hoped.

Louise said...

Jackie, I am looking forward to hear your comments on the book. I haven't read anything else by this author, and am not planning to right now, although I am by no means scared off because of One Day :-)

bookreviews said...

Sorry you didn't like this one as much as you hoped, I read it not long after it came out and really enjoyed it.

softdrink said...

I don't agree that between 22 and 42 we remain essentially the same. All that life experience is bound to have an impact!

Dorte H said...

Louise, I have an award for you.

Julia Smith said...

Characters should show some sort of growth - otherwise, why did anyone invest time in writing or reading the story?

Beth F said...

No growth of the characters seems so unrealistic. Sorry this a poor choice for you, but I appreciate the honest review.

craftyclaire said...

I read this book over the weekend, and really enjoyed the read, although the end was pretty sad, and after the journey of our 2 protagonists I was hoping for a cheerier ending. I disagree that they they don't change, by the end Emma is even thinking about using private medicine! I think Dexter has learnt from his life lessons and actions. For me, I enjoyed the changing decades and totally related to all the "signs of the times" that were through the book, the TV programme, Dexter worked on, was clearly meant to be The Word/ and also the Rough Guide tv series, plus Robot Wars etc etc. The rise of these coffee chains/ sandwich bars that did not exist in the 1980s. People's inherent qualities do not change, ie if you are selfish, then you probably have always been, or always putting other people first, that is what you will do the rest of your life. I didn't find it a perfect book, but I do think it did reflect the late 1980s onwards well. I'm 35, so it charted (within 4-5 years difference) my life. I did think it rang true. You could say it's a bit of a sadder version of "when Harry Met Sally" but set in the UK.