Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

From back of book:

It's 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met.  They both know that the next day, after college graduation, they must go their separate ways.  But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.  As the years go by, Dex adn Em begin to lead separate lives - lives very different from the people they once dreamed they'd become.  And yet, unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two. 

Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day - July 15th - of each year.  Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears.  And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

My thoughts:

Hmmm.  This is a book that slowly grew on me.  At first, I wasn't really sure I even wanted to finish it, but somewhere along the way, I found myself wanting to find out what would happen to "Dex and Em, Em and Dex".  Its a book that I would categorize as a cross between lad lit and chick lit - which is not a bad thing.  The writing is engaging and the characters are depicted as flawed and somewhat damaged and the flow of the story is up and down, which is rather representative of the various places in life that "Dex and Em, Em and Dex" are at with each other and in their lives.  And let me say, that these two are often at odds with one another with regards to their romantic feelings toward one another and their significant others - which I suppose is typical when you are trying to stretch out the plot of a "will they every get together?" type of story.  Admittedly it was rather fun to read about their attempts to find themselves, because I could relate to their dilemma of accepting the fact that what you dreamt about in your youth may not come to fruition as quickly as you wanted or, at all.  And yet, I hoped that the time would come when "Dex and Em, Em and Dex" would finally couple up and live happily ever after - Yes, I know, its rather sappy, but I wanted my happy ending. Lo and behold I did not get it, instead I got rather angry with a certain event that occurred towards the end of the story and let me just say that I found myself comparing this tome to those western television shows from back in the day - the ones in which the female characters always die, because after all, you can't have the male leads tied down to one woman, right? UGH!  From that point on I found myself looking at this book with disappointment and muttering the word, "Typical." underneath my breath.  I thought to myself, that I would rather the two characters remained solid best friends throughout their lives, instead of having them get together - because that was the end of the beginning for them. And though the book ended with a look at how their first day together in 1988 was brought to a close, it also showed us just how much they truly liked each other from the get go - but yet, I still wasn't pleased.  Don't get me wrong, this is a book I would recommend, because at the end of the day, it is well written and quite engaging.  I just didn't like the bit about the dying.  Hmmm. Does make me wonder what anyone else thinks about the death and the way things turned out for "Dex and Em, Em and Dex".  Am I the only one who didn't like it?

Anyhow, I'm off to finish The Hunger Games - I finally got hooked and have to keep reading!! Cheers!


Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

I'm sorry you didn't like it that much. I have to say I would have preferred a happy ending and I was also disappointed that she died. But I guess it really made him realize he loved after all. I do hope they change the ending in the movie or just leave it at the point when they got together. That said, I still thought it was such a terrific book and I really bawled in the end.

Athira said...

This book sounds like a typical movie. I wanted to read it at some point, but now I'm not so sure. The premise doesn't sound like my kind of book.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I hated that the ending happened, but I imagine it was good for kleenex manufacturers, at least if my reaction were typical!

Ti said...

Lad lit? Haha!

I cannot get into this one. I've read maybe 50 pages and it hasn't picked up at all. I don't like them so I don't really care what happens to them. I keep wondering if I should pick it up again but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Dot said...

I got this from the library on my last visit and have seen so many mixed reviews since then! Think it will be staying on my TBR pile for a bit longer!

Carol said...

I enjoyed this book and it is perfect for a film as per David Nicholls other book/film Starter for Ten.
I did nt like the turn of events for Em. It was a shock to me as I expected the usual fairytale ending, and although I wanted the fairytale ending, it made this story different.


Anonymous said...

Must add to my tbr pile, thanks! for sharing.

Janelle said...

I hated, hated, hated that she died! HATED it.

Still, with that being said, I really liked the book. I enjoyed their story up until that point. I hate the casting of Em for the movie, but I look forward to seeing what they are going to do...

Anonymous said...

I loved this book and although the certain event took me utterly by surprise, it did fit in with the more realistic aspects of the story.

Lisa said...

I'm just getting such mixed vibes about this one--can't decide if I want to read it or not. Which probably means that I won't - unless it shows up in my mailbox one day or a book club friend loans it to me.

Nadia said...

Mrs. B - I'm so glad you enjoyed One Day, because there are some great bits in it. I just truly didn't like that they killed off Em and part of me hopes that maybe they will change that bit in the film version - of course, then I'll be bothered that they didn't stick to the book. LOL!

Aths, it does sound like a movie and guess what? - they are making a movie version. Anne Hathaway is playing Emma and lots of people were not happy she was cast. I have to say I was surprised they picked her to play Emma, because she is not what I had pictured. Hmmm. Should be interesting to watch how she does.

Ti, I know what you mean! At first, I just didn't really care for the characters and wasn't sure I would even finish reading the book, but somehow I wound up connecting with them and then I just had to see what would happen. And I didn't like what happened. Hmmm. Maybe I should have stopped reading it?

Dot, I've read loads of great reviews about this book, so I was expecting something great and when I didn't get that, well I was disappointed. Plus the dying part really did me in. Oh well. I suppose it just wasn't for me. I am looking forward to your post though - maybe you'll help me figure out why the dying bit had to be included.

Nadia said...

Carol, this book is great for a film - I agree with you! And I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Its a pity about Em, because if that hadn't happened, then I do think I would have enjoyed the book. I'll have to check out Starter for Ten - Thanks!

Tribute Books Mama, hope you enjoy this book!

Janelle, yes! I am so glad I'm not alone in hating that Em dies in the book! Thank you! And like you, I enjoyed the story up to that point and then it just went downhill for me. It'll be great to see this in film version, because I do wonder what bits they'll change, if any. Plus, I wonder how Anne Hathaway will do as Emma.

StephanieD, I'm glad you loved the book, because I can understand why (sort of). Its just that, I had enjoyed reading about the evolution of their relationship and wanted to see how they would finally be wind up - would they have remained happily ever after, would Dex has strayed, would Emma have had a child of her own, etc. There were so many avenues left to explore, but lo and behold, they killed it all off and just left us with Dex and his new partner (big surprise that it wound up being his co-worker) and yes we find out just how much he loved (which I think we already knew). So, for me it was not a good ending. Oh well.

Lisa, if you get your hands on a copy, I'll definitely look forward to reading your thoughts on it. Its an interesting book and there have been some mixed reviews. Plus, with all the talk about people being unhappy that Anne Hathaway was picked to play the lead role, well, I think it makes for more chatter about the book. Should be fun to watch the film and see how she does.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she dies because they just seem to be sort of ill-fated with timing - they were in the end, blessed to have 3 years together, because they seemed to be fated to bad communication and being available to be together at the same time.
Sort of star crossed lovers - to me this seems emphasised by the final chapters giving more depth to there first meeting - Dex liked Em too, she wasn't just hopelessly fixated and drawn to him, waiting like a puppy, he too had a very strong pull to her, right from the beginning.
In a way the death is, the fragility of grasping the one you love, you cannot force someone's hand to be with you if they are not feeling it (Think of Ian Whiteheads desire and love for Emma who didn't feel the same). Love is even a delicate state when it is mutual, everyone must die at some point. Did Emma and Dexter have just 3 years or did they actually have a love for 20 years. For me, the final chapters expanding on their first day together show that they had each others hearts for a long long time. The message for me was that love is not a simple joyful thing, it is painful, it is depressing, it is consolling, it is so many things positive and negative. It takes from you and it enriches you. Emma didn't change Dex, that wasn't her role in the book, he just grew up through his own life experiences. Yes, he found a new girlfriend after Emma died but life moves on, the story of 20 years shows that, would you rather he had drunk himself into alcoholic oblivion, he had a daughter, life is not simple. He had his daughter to life for and to be around for. It was a little difficult to hear of him with Maddy as it was a case of a few pages in the book but it was meant to be 2 years after Emmas death, plus he was clearly clearly still so in love with Emma even years after she died. The author did not give any details of his romance with Maddy, there was a mention of a kiss at a tube station that's it so she was not really introduced as a new passionate love. It was for me, his acceptance, of life moving on, of the need to survive, to go on. That was actually something Emma learnt too in the book, to go on without having Dex fufil her romantic fantasies, to forge on with other things she wanted in life, such as to be a writer.