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One Day

Written by Eleanor on September 10th, 2011

Title: One Day (buy now on Amazon)

One Day

Author: David Nicholls
Year: 2009

The novel, One Day, by David Nicholls, has been a popular hit since its publication in many countries (translated into over 30 languages!) and has recently been converted to the Hollywood big screen. I have neither watched the film nor engaged in reading its cinematic reviews. I have decided that I have no intention of watching the film until it appears on satellite television, so this is my review about only the book.

The book is about the harsh realities of modern life for Generation X’ers in London. I am just barely a GenX girl but I understand where the two (yes, two!) protagonists of the story are coming from. I understand their ambitions, their values, their fears, their hunger for an ideal life with everything just perfectly in order.
The two main characters, Emma and Dexter, are vivid and multi-dimensional. They are like you or me: insecure but hopeful of the future, sympathetic but selfish, loving but destructive. What is painfully clear is that these two individuals may come from two completely different backgrounds, speak with different accents, but they are meant for each other in every way. What breaks my heart is when two people meet randomly, sparks fly and feelings are positive (almost wonderful), but because the timing is off, sometimes just by a minute or two, the conditions are never ideal and therefore the two are never able to fulfil their destiny together. But such is life, especially in London. We are pulled in different directions, busy hurrying off somewhere, always thinking about how to better ourselves. We don’t stop or wait to see what good might happen.
This is what I admire about this novel. It portrays the tragedy of our lives: we never truly have what we believe we deserve. This is a special novel that captures simple moments with humour and sometimes gut-wrenching bluntness. I laughed heartily at points but also felt my heart sink down to my stomach.
On the basis that the author takes the reader on a 20 year long journey through life and allows me to feel a breadth of emotion in each chapter, this book is a 4 out of 5 (very good). Striving to work hard and accomplish something worthy or admirable to others sometimes strips individuals of the ability to feel and give love. This book is a reminder to us all that it is the joyous and painful journey of personal relationships that makes life worth living. If only we could all benefit from coincidences and be wise enough to dedicate effort and time to encourage those situations to bloom and develop…