One Day by David Nicholls
Release Date – August 28, 2009
Publisher – Random House (Vintage)
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 435 pages
My Rating- 9.5/10
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 and 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.
The premise of this novel intrigued me right from reading the synopsis. Checking in with two people on one specific day over a span of 20 years. I got to thinking about what it would show about me if I were to do that with my life, and what story it would tell. It was interesting to see Dexter and Emma as hopeful 20 somethings, disillusioned 30 somethings, and somewhat settled 40 somethings.
I was hooked by the writing style. It’s funny, charming, heart wrenching and real. You feel like you’ve become friends with both Dexter and Emma, and it’s because you’ve gotten to know them so well. The book was much funnier than I was expecting.
Emma is the type of girl I would be friends with. She’s a little lost, not really sure who she is and what she wants to be. Her journey over those 20 years is to find herself, and come into her own. It’s a journey so many young 20 somethings take when fresh out of college. She was relatable, likeable, and you wanted her to succeed. She is caring, and a true friend to Dexter. She sees things in him that he doesn’t see in himself.
This brings us to broken, heartbreaking Dexter. I spent half the book wanting to kiss him, and the other half wanting to smack him. Dexter is the type of guy that my younger self would have fallen for head first (who am I kidding, I still would). There is a letter that Dexter writes Emma early on in the book, that honestly made me swoon. He, unfortunately, is a big mess. Borderline alcoholic, unreliable, and honestly a little selfish. When he is involved and caring he’s wonderful. He does love people in his life, and he tries to show it. He does not think he is worth much, and is easily influenced by others opinions. Emma makes him want to be a better person (most of the time, when they are talking to each other). The thing with Dexter is you end up wanting to take care of him.
The ending of the book made me want to throw it across the room. I loved the book, but the ending…sigh. I honestly wished for any other ending. It wrecked me. The true significance of the date - July 15- is revealed and it’s heartbreaking, and devastating. I understand why so many people are angry about it.
One Day is one of those novels in which the characters truly come alive, and leap off the page. I will never forget getting to know Dex and Em (or Em and Dex) and wish it could have had a happier ending.