Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: One Day

"Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well.
Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance."

So explains the general theory of heroine Emma Morley. The words that guide her through her life and relationships, especially her experiences with the complex Dexter Mayhew. The much longed for best friend.

Few novels surprise me. When you read as much of the same genre and style as I do, you tend to catch on to the formula. I'm still not sure how it happened, but One Day by David Nicholls managed to both take my breath away and surprise me with events I should have seen coming. Each chapter is a brief photograph into the lives of the two characters at a new year in their lives over 20 years; two characters whose lives take very different paths after college graduation, but who form a complicated relationship full of the rises and falls true to any real-life friendship, romantic entanglement, or plain-old bond between two people.

The characters, Emma and Dex, Dex and Em, are complex, vibrant, and real. You fall in love with them and root for them despite their obvious flaws and struggles. Nicholls writes with an ability to make you feel with the characters, not just for them.  I laughed and cried with them. Felt disappointment, anger, confusion, and pride with them. As they moved on in their lives I could reflect on my own experiences of life just after college, and then imagine where I'm headed 10, 15, 20 years into the future.

Everybody has a love story to tell. It may not be as complicated as that of Emma and Dexter, or maybe it is. Maybe it's a lot of work. Maybe it's effortless and no work at all. Maybe you spend every day side by side. Maybe you're separated by space and time. Love stories come in all shapes and sizes, and One Day is one of a kind.

Recommendation: Read it right away... Then go see the movie!

Up Next: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Fey's sense of humour is impeccable. I'm already about 40 pages in and I've laughed out loud several times. Many of those times being on an airplane... Not exactly the kind of place you want to be looking like a crazy person.  

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