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Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Prices for:- Audio – £11.39 Hardback – £16.14 Paperback – £3.85
(Source of above information: amazon.co.uk)
I changed the ratings to be of 10 because I felt the mark for books I gave out of 5 didn’t reflect my review or how I truly felt about the book.
This is what the story is about:
What I liked: (a) Characterisation was great! Emma and Dexter are drawn in a way that makes you feel like you know them as well as you know a close friend. Each have their own distinct voice and you knew who was whom when they spoke. Nicholles’ attention to language and diction is amazing. I can’t fault it! Emma is witty but self-conscious, Dexter is childish and big-headed, but he has a good heart (b) It’s not a soppy romance novel and, although the story revolves around the two friends, it’s about them leading their separate lives and the experiences they have.
(c) Dexter can be arrogant and insensitive about things but you don’t hate him for it and Nicholls shows his flaws, not in any way endearing , but just as foibles that are a part of him and how as a character, quite opposite to Emma (d) The ending was sad but done well; when the two finally get together tragedy strikes them and Emma dies very suddenly. To me there were only ever 2 possible endings for the book: either it ends with a wedding and bliss thereon after the last page, or they suffer in some way or part. Having Emma die in an accident meant that we had to be left wondering what would now happen to Dexter. How he will manage without his best friend. And when we are shown how he mourns, it’s not done quickly, but steadily like the rest of the book. Ensuring that as readers we feel like Dexter does mourn enough across the pages and gets on with his life at the right time.
(e) The last few chapters made me teary. They are very touching and there is a bit of going back in time to when they first met and then back to the present. The book was wrapped up well like this. For one last time we see them as young adults whose life has just begun
What I didn’t: The only thing I don’t like (and even then it’s not that big and is forgivable on Nicholls’ part) is how suddenly and quickly Emma dies. I was so shocked I had to read it a few times before I understood what had happened and accepted it.
BUT, I acknowledge that it was probably done that way to make it that sudden. To make us think ‘Wow, it was such an ordinary day for her. She was just going home from work’. Throughout the book Emma speaks about living life with a Carpe Diem mentality, so for her to then die with only a slight warning beforehand really hits you.
The book is about friendship, love, family, searching, time…it’s a life book. You see Emma and Dexter leaving university at 22 and 24 and follow them up until they reach middle age. You grow with them and see yourself in them; they are characters that reflect our lives, in whatever stage they are in. For me right now, I mostly connected to chapters about them in their early 20’s.
After closing the book I was left with a bittersweet feeling; sad to have the story end but happy to have known Emma and Dexter for as long as I did