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One Day by David Nicholls (final thoughts)

August 24, 2010

After a couple years of being mere acquaintances, Emma and Dexter nearly become more than friends in 1988. Fueled by alcohol and the end of University, they find themselves together in the earlier hours of July 15. However, as the buzz fades and the sun rises, the moment passes. Emma and Dexter graduate and move out in the world, but mange to keep in touch and build a friendship. So begins One Day and in the following chapters we see where Emma and Dexter are in their lives and relationship on July 15th of each successive year, spanning almost 20 years.

As soon as I finished One Day I did what no book blogger should do. I immediately went off and reread a bunch of reviews I had seen on it. Before starting my own post. I know! Bad! But I needed some kind of feedback on what I had just encountered. When all is said and done, One Day is a book you’ll want to discuss.

For most of the book, I was not rooting for Em and Dex to get together. In fact, most of the time I did not want Em to touch Dex with a ten foot pole. I couldn’t really understand why they were friends – Dex, the cocky playboy, and Em, self-degrading and bookish. And indeed they seemed to fight whenever they got together.

Nicholls somehow managed to take these two characters that I did not like and get me to care about what happened to them. Honestly, I was as surprised as anyone. I’ve been trying to figure out how he did it and I think it was a combination of their inner monologues wondering why they kept acting a certain way and of each of them slowly maturing. I began to really enjoy both Em and Dex. And then once I cared what happened to them, well, I have to agree with Meg in wanting to hurl the book across the room.

This is another book that I had to process for a few days before I could make my mind up about it. It’s a difficult one for me to rate because while I’ll admit that One Day affected me much more than I thought it would, I still didn’t love it. And while it’ll be one of my most memorable books of the year, it won’t be one of my favourites. In the end I had to base my rating on my overall enjoyment and whether I could easily recommend it. I feel like I need to be cautious when recommending One Day. If it’s a book you already have on your shelf or were already planning to read, I would still suggest trying it for yourself, as quite a few other bloggers have really loved it.

That all said, I will still definitely see the movie when it comes out!

My rating: 7/10

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 12:31 pm

    I’m definitely looking forward to the film, but I really share your thoughts on this one (as you noted — thanks!). It was very memorable and won’t be a novel that will simply fade into oblivion for me, but I didn’t love it… in fact, at points, I didn’t like it at all. And I’d gone in with such high expectations, too. Maybe that was part of my problem.

  2. August 24, 2010 1:07 pm

    I want to discuss this :) I loved it, I really liked Em and I do believe that sometimes people fall for the wrong person, they could be so happy with a better person but their heartbeat only accelerates when that specific person is around.
    I love stories about friendship that develop into romance. At the end I also wanted to hurl the book across the room but it’s been two months since I read it and I often find myself thinking about those two.

  3. August 24, 2010 2:50 pm

    I loved this book and cried my eyes out at the end. I can understand why you were on the fence for a couple of days though, it’s a hard one to process.

  4. August 24, 2010 6:24 pm

    It must be some particular perverseness of my character, but oftentimes I will be completely uninterested in a book until somebody says the ending infuriated them, and then I am mad with curiosity about it and have to read it straightaway. And that is what happened to me just now. :p

  5. August 25, 2010 6:27 am

    Hoo I have read a few thoughts on this book and I am still so curious about it! Thanks for your thoughts on it. :D

  6. August 26, 2010 12:34 pm

    Meg – At least with the movie I’ll know what I’m getting myself into. I totally agree, at times I didn’t like the book either and was wondering why I was still reading it. But then I got completely sucked in.

    Emily – Yours was one of the reviews I read as soon as I finished, so you’ve been included in the discussion whether you knew it or not ;) I’d love to discuss it more, though! I still have unresolved issues with it.

    LR – So did I, big fat tears that threatened to destroy the brand new library book ;)

    Jenny – In that case, I wholeheartedly recommend you read this book. Seriously. I would love to hear what you think of it.

    Bookjourney – Then you should definitely still read it!

  7. August 28, 2010 12:48 am

    What an interesting review! I bought a copy of it for my ereader and this definitely makes me more curious about it : books that are memorable but not completely likable always give me the strangest of feelings. I wonder if I’ll get a similar reaction to it!

  8. August 31, 2010 6:42 am

    I really liked this one bt I read it on holiday and it was the perfect holiday read. Ill be interested in the film when that comes out.

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