Wednesday 7 September 2011

Book Review - One Day

Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Release Date: 4 Feb 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0340896983

'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.'
He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.'
15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.
So where will they be on this one day next year?
And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

My Review
This has been promoted a lot over the last year, it was on displays in the library, in bookshops everywhere and people were talking about it. I was intrigued by the idea and wondered how it would work. Two of my colleagues read it, one loved it, the other didn't particularly like it. It has sat in my locker for a few months, but since the film is going to be released, I thought it was time I should read it. Anne Hathaway is one of my favourite actresses so I'm going to see the film no matter what, but If there is a book version I have to read it first.
I started reading it and wasn't particularly inspired. The characters felt quite 2dimensional and I didn't really care about them.
I also struggled with the 'one day' thing. I would just be getting into the events and start to get to know the characters when it would jump and be in a completely different situation. It was like reading a book of shorts stories, each with the same characters in, none of which had endings. I got really frustrated, especially when a 'day' would end with some big revelation, then the next chapter would start a year later so you never got the full story of what they did.
I can see how this is an original and interesting idea and I admire how Nichols managed to piece it together, but I like to see a character grow and develop, to go on a journey of discovery with them so this took some of the magic away.
However, I got about 150 pages in and I started to get into it more. I had a better idea who the characters were and I liked the ways they had changed. I started to actually enjoy it, although I still couldn't stand Dexter as a character, I did like Emma.
Then I got to the last 80 pages and it started going downhill again. I could tell something was going to happen, I had even heard people say it had made them cry so I expected some big *gasp* moment, but I didn't feel it. Yes I was slightly surprised by what did happen but I wasn't moved or even that bothered.
Dexter still annoyed me and was basically a moron.So whereas I applaud the individual approach of the novel and the uniqueness, but for me it just didn't work.
I can see why so many people love it, and I encourage you to read it and make your own mind up, you may love it. 
I will still try to see the film, I think it will make a good chic flick/rom com. And I'm curious how it will translate onto the screen.

My Rating
I would give this book 4.5/10. A unique new idea, but it just didn't come to life for me, something was missing. I couldn't make myself care for the characters.


Hannah said...

I saw the movie (didn't read the book), and let me encourage you not to waste your time on the movie. It was just as flat as the novel sounded, and just when it seemed like my two hours of watching dust motes dance around the theatre might pay off? *That* scene that you're talking about happened. So not worth my time.

barmybex said...

I probably won't pay to see it then. I'll wait till it's on TV or hire it on DVD when it's out.
Thanks :D

TG said...

Interesting review. I feel almost pressured into reading this because so many people I know love it! I think what you mentioned, about big revelations happening and then skipping forward a year would bother me, too. I think I will still read this - if only to stop friends asking me if I've read it - so at least I know about that going in.

barmybex said...

Everyone was asking me to read it too. I hope you get some enjoyment out of it. Good luck.