Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
First published: September 1st 2001
Finished reading: October 23rd 2014
“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.”
I have to start with saying that with One Day being a contemporary/romance fiction novel, it’s not a book that I can enjoy easily. But since this novel by David Nicholls was originally a gift, I decided to read it anyway. I’m glad I decided to finally pick up my copy of One Day, as it definitely went far beyond my inicial expectations. The story is about Emma and Dexter who we follow during the span of twenty years. They meet for the first time on the night of their graduation, and develop a complicated relationship afterwards. Nicholls takes us to the July 15th of each year after that to see what happens to both of them on each anniversary. Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. Although the characters weren’t exactly to my liking, I did enjoy reading about the changes in perspective and friendship during the years, and Nicholls was able to put in some pretty big plot twists. Recommended to those who enjoy contemporary romance…
When Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation, they form quite a remarkable pair: they are the living proof that opposites sometimes attract, especially when there is alcohol involved. Dexter seems to be the typical superficial pretty boy, but does the unthinkable and doesn’t flee Emma’s place in the morning. It’s not the romantic relationship Emma longs for, but it is the start of a friendship that will last for a long time.
We see Dexter rise to fame when he first starts travelling around the world and later becomes a TV presenter. The events that mark the first few years of Emma’s life are definitely not as glamorous. Instead of chasing her dreams of becoming a professional writer, she ends up working in a fast food restaurant. And while Emma is quite the feminist and forever alone, Dexter changes his girlfriends faster than his underwear. When his drug and alcohol abuse goes too far, even Emma cannot stand him anymore. He messed up with his job and girlfriend, and is forced to accept he is no longer ‘IT’. Emma is seeing a co-worker named Ian, and slowly takes over control of her life. She becomes a teacher, and keeps trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. When Emma realizes she is stuck in a dead relationship, she flees to Paris. And Dexter is freshly devorced with a daughter, desperate to see Emma and tell her how he really feels… But is he too late?
I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, so I’ve left out quite a big chunk of the story in my summary. What I can say is that I enjoyed the various plot twists, and that the idea of following two people during all those years is without doubt interesting. Although I didn’t like the characters, I did enjoy reading about their development. It’s an interesting novel and recommended if you don’t mind a cliche situation or two. A nice contemporary romance read!