Summary: It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. 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. -- Vintage
After reading a few very positive reviews around the blogosphere about ONE DAY by David Nicholls, I pretty much knew that I had to read this novel. It has been most often described as a literary (and British) version of "When Harry Meets Sally," and I have to say that description probably does describe it fairly well. Although ONE DAY actually has a more interesting premise to me because of the way the story is told.
The basic premise behind ONE DAY is just terrific as far as I'm concerned. The book tells the story of Dexter and Emma every year on the anniversary of their first night together -- thus the title ONE DAY. The book takes the reader through twenty years of their lives -- showing both the times when they are together as well as the times when they are apart. Their story does a wonderful job of showing their friendship (and their love for each other) as well as the ups and downs of their careers, their other relationships, and their life in general. To me, this novel just worked and I absolutely loved it!
One of the things that I most loved about this book was how much it affected me. As I read this story, I found it highly entertaining and I didn't want to put it down -- I think that's a credit to the author. He made the story interesting and very funny, but he also managed to draw me into his characters' lives and care about them. Neither Dexter nor Emma was perfect, and I did get frustrated with them at times, but when it came down to it, I just found both of them to be so likable. Even when Dexter was kind of a rogue, I still loved him!
I found ONE DAY to be so refreshing. I can't say the story is unlike anything I've ever read (or seen), and yet the book was definitely something special to me. The dialogue was smart and witty, especially the banter between Dexter and Emma; and I found much of the book to be extremely insightful about friendships, relationships and the male/female dynamic. However, this story was also heartbreaking -- and I mean it messed with my emotions in a major way.
What is so ironic to me is that the story was kind of predictable, and it still didn't affect my adoration for this book. I knew as I was reading it what was most likely going to happen, and it still managed to affect me... deeply. I found myself crying not just as I read this book, but also for an hour or so after I finished it. My husband and daughter thought I was crazy, but I just couldn't pull myself together. And it wasn't just a cry with a few pretty tears. No sirree, it was one of those ugly cries if you know what I mean!
ONE DAY is currently being made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess with an estimated release date in late 2011. As I read this novel, I totally could picture it as a movie, and the novel really does seem to lend itself extremely well to the big screen. I'm not a huge movie-goer, but I just might have to make an exception for this story!
I wasn't really thinking about ONE DAY as a book club pick while I was reading the novel, but upon further thought, I do think it would be a good book to discuss. There are going to be many people who just adore this story, but I also think there will be many with whom this book just doesn't resonate. These differences in opinion could definitely make for an interesting discussion. In addition, there is a reading guide available with some wonderful questions. Some of the topics you might want to explore include friendships, self actualization, growing up, happiness, fulfillment, love, and loss. I also think Dexter's and Emma's characters, as well as their relationship could be analyzed for hours.
Not everyone has felt the same way about this novel as I did -- there are plenty of just okay reviews out there for ONE DAY, but if you enjoy stories about love and friendship, then you might want to give this one a try!
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.