Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Day by David Nicholls

  • Title: One Day
  • Classificaton: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Mti edition (May 24, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0307946711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307946713
  • Author Website:

One day. Two little words. Endless possibilities.

     'What are you going to do with your life?' In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing, and still she was no nearer an answer. The future rose up ahead of her, a succession of empty days, each more daunting and unknowable than the one before her. How would she ever fill them? 
     'Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance. 

While I'm sure Mr. Nicholls named the book 'One Day' because we get a look, a video snapshot if you will, of one day a year (July 15th) for twenty years into the life of Emma and Dexter--I feel it has more implications. How many times have you used those two words in a sentence??? One day I'll get around to doing that. One day I'll land my dream job. One day you'll reach your full potential. One day I'll change the world. One day we'll be together... Think about it--One day. One day can change everything...

If you're looking for an epic love story with a happy ending this is not it. If you're looking for a book that will move you emotionally and portray life as it sometimes truly is, then you've found the book for you. My initial reaction to this book upon finishing it was to give it a low rating of maybe two roses, but I know myself and gave myself a day or two to process the ending. I love happy endings. When a book like this one comes along, I have a stack of books by authors I know will brighten my mood. Yes, I'm prepared.
Emma and Dex meet for the first time on July 15th. July 15th, it should be noted, is a holiday called St. Swithin's day. St. Swithin's Day reminds me a bit of Ground Hog's Day without the animal or shadow. A British tradition reportedly started in Elizabethan times, it's a day on which people watch the weather because, as the lore goes, whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, is what it will be like for the next forty days. I can't help but feel that that is partially why Nicholl's picked such a potentially ominus and auspicious day. How the relationship is on that one day sort of determines how it will be for the rest of the year.

The book deals with the ups and downs of Dex's and Emma's rocky relationship. We all know "one day" the two will end up with each other, but as the book rolls along, we start to wonder if perhaps "one day" will never come. At one point in the book, Emma is asked how she and Dex met. Her response is classic, "We grew up together." For that is truly what we see in this book. Two smart, optimistic young individuals who have their lives ahead of them--all the time in the world to fulfill their dreams. I guess in a way we can all see a little bit of ourselves in the pair at the beginning and it endears them to us.

One final thing I'd like to note, is the opening comment by Emma,
     "I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference," she said. "You know, actually change something."
     "What, like 'change the world', you mean?"
     "Not the whole entire world. Just the little bit around you."
Emma did manage to make a difference in the life of someone--Dex. So in a way, there was a happy ending.

So what's my final verdict? I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. While it wasn't the happy ending I usually love, it was a brilliant book. Yes, I subtracted 1/2 a rose because I didn't love the ending. (Shame on me. lol)

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