Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Book Review: One Day

I'm sure you've heard the one about the man who was very impressed with himself - he completed a jigsaw in just three weeks. The reason he was so pleased was that it said 2-3 years on the box!

In a similar vein, while the David Nicholls book may say 'One Day' on the front, it took me a little longer than one day to read it. Having enjoyed his previous novels (Starter for Ten and The Understudy), I had always intended to read this, his latest work. However it wasn't until it was re-released with a new cover to coincide with the film version being released that I managed to get round to buying and reading it. It seems that some of the press coverage surrounding the movie was suggesting that this was his first book, but not a bit of it!

The basic outline is that the story follows the lives, loves, successes and frustrations of a boy and a girl over a period of twenty years, focusing in on one day, the same day: 15th July. Emma and Dexter have just graduated from Edinburgh university and you quickly become interested and involved in their story. There are funny moments, touching moments, sad moments, and quite a shock at the moment you least expect it.

As in his earlier novels, Nicholls draws you in through the main characters, examining their motives and methods of living. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story are the background details - the way Nicholls describes the characters' surroundings in such vivid detail. This book (and to some extent his previous two) could function as a very accurate social history, with plenty of material for reminiscing in the TV programmes, foods, cultures, costumes, phrases, and much more. While Emma and Dexter belong to the generation above me, there was still much to relate to in their experience of the late 1980s and 1990s, and especially the 'noughties'.

I haven't seen the film, but I know this book will long stay in my memory, and will probably get another read at some point in the future. Classic David Nicholls, a great read.

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