Book Reviews: One Day
Thursday, October 28, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
by David Nicholls
We, the reader, first meet Dexter and Emma on the day after they graduate from college, July 15, 1988. Dexter is a wealthy playboy with no real worries. Emma is a bookish girl with high morals and something to prove. Somehow the two hit it off and the story follows their lives from their early twenties to their late thirties.
For some reason, I was under the impression that Emma and Dexter only met once a year and that was the “One Day.” But instead, the “one day” gives us a snapshot of what their lives are like on July 15 each year for almost 20 years. They still interact the rest of the year, but the reader doesn’t see every other day. This felt much more natural to me than the way I had originally thought it was structured.
Dexter seemed to have a tenuous grasp on reality at best. He acts rashly, makes careless decisions and takes all of the people in his life for granted. He expects no consequences to his actions and it's hard to understand what Emma sees in him sometimes.
This was a strange book for me, because I never really liked Dexter. I kept thinking he would completely redeem himself, but he never really did. Yet at the same time I loved the character of Emma and I did like them when together when they were at their best. I wanted to know what happened and I continued thinking about the characters after I finished the book. So it was really good, just not what I expected. I think that’s a tribute to Nicholls’ wonderful writing. Even if you don’t love the character, he makes you feel sympathy or pity for him. I’ve heard him compared to Nick Horby and there’s a definite resemblance.
"Nothing here was neutral, everything displayed an allegiance or a point of view. The room was a manifesto."
"There was a time when they were barely able to pass a photo booth without cramming inside it, because they had yet to take each others permanent presence for granted."