I discovered One Day by David Nicholls because I saw the trailer for the movie. I am a big fan of Jim Sturgess and knew that I had to watch this movie. Of course I soon realized it was based on a book. I went out, bought a copy and like with almost every book on my shelf, it took me a few months till I actually picked it up.
Eventually, I picked it up, finished it and immediately watched the movie. I’m one of those people who always likes the book better, but I have to admit it wasn’t a bad one. That said, reading the book before hand definitely helped connect the gaps in the movie.
When I first started the book I was actually a little disappointed because I was expecting something completely different. Even though it was nothing like I was expecting, it was a wonderful read. Unlike so many books in the genre, it wasn’t a predictable love story. The author delves into the lives of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley, the two protagonists of the story. It traces their stories as they navigate the hurdles of life, family, and self expectations. It urges the reader to reflect upon their own lives and choices. In my case I suddenly realized that no matter what we have envisioned for our futures, there are no guarantees. If you’re lucky, it works out, but more often than not, life is unexpected and a lot more complicated than we hope for.
I love how David Nicholls portrays the struggles of each character and the internal conflict that they face. His writing is vivid and brings to life the emotions that they feel so that you are no longer imagining them but actually experiencing them alongside the characters. There are moments when his choice of words are so effective that you get lost in the story and forget it isn’t real. Nicholls makes you love, hate and sympathize with Dexter as he deals with the disappointing remains of his TV career. Throughout the story, you notice Dexters character development, how his thought process changes, and how he matures. Emma’s character faces very different obstacles, but she too finds herself struggling to understand how her reality became so drastically different from her dream.
The story follows the characters over 18 years. They first meet on the 15th of July 1988 and then catches up with them on same date every year. I thought it was a great way to tell a story. Nicholls does a great job especially with a format where if you get it wrong, the story starts feeling incomplete. He weaves it together very well and not once while reading does it feel like anythings missing.
I love books that affect me and One Day certainly did. It made me want to live the best life I possibly could and to do the things that make me happy. I think that this is one book (or movie if you prefer) that is definitely worth a read. (or watch, thought it probably wouldn’t have the same effect.)
“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”
“He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph.”
“You feel a little bit lost right now about what to do with your life, a bit rudderless and oarless and aimless but that’s okay… That’s alright because we’re all meant to be like that at twenty-four.”
“Occasionally, very occasionally, say at four o’clock in the afternoon on a wet Sunday, she feels panic-stricken and almost breathless with loneliness. Once or twice she has been known to pick up the phone to check that it isn’t broken. Sometimes she thinks how nice it would be to be woken by a call in the night: ‘get in a taxi now’ or ‘I need to see you, we need to talk’. But at the best of times she feels like a character in a Muriel Spark novel – independent, bookish, sharp-minded, secretly romantic.”