15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their seperate ways.
So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?
And every year that follows?
First published: 2009
Man, this book… There was a lot of anticipation involved for me before I finally got to read One Day. It has been high on my wish list for over a year, I think, and after I posted my book haul featuring this novel, several of you told me it’s both wonderful and a tear jerker. So many expectations!
If I’m completely honest I have to admit that I was expecting a romantic love story with some complications along the way and a sad ending (hence the tear jerking). I had very high expectations, but I was “just” expecting a good old love story.
It was so much better than that.
The beginning completely took me and my expectations by surprise and it only got better and better after that. As a reader, you live this 20 year spanning story through the eyes of both Emma and Dexter, and at the end you really have the feeling as if you actually know these characters and as if they’re your friends.
Emma and Dexter are some of the most well-developed, round characters I have ever encountered in a novel and their personality and story just seem so real. They experience real problems such as not being able to find a decent job after university, or being in a relationship that is going nowhere but you’re afraid to end because you don’t want to be alone. I especially found Emma’s story to be very close to life, but Dexter (the “rich kid”) also experiences some very real and heartbreaking things over the years.
The concept of getting to follow two people for twenty years is a really interesting one. It is especially fascinating that you only get to see one day of that year, and that each chapter you have to slowly figure out what has happened in the previous year; what’s still the same, what’s completely changed. It makes for a wonderful reading experience.
Not only were the story and the set-up of the story very much to my liking, the writing style is equally great. One Day is a page turner because the style of writing is very laid back and easy to follow but in the mean time also full of witty and intelligent remarks.
She wondered where the fallacy had come from, that there was something irresistible about funny men; Cathy doesn’t long for Heathcliff because he’s a really great laugh[.]
Of course, any reference to Wuthering Heights is a good one in my book. But Emma, as a struggling writer, also makes a few striking comments about the writing process:
She had read all of Agatha Christie at eleven years old, and later lots of Chandler and James M. Cain too. There seemed no reason why she shouldn’t try writing something in between, but she was discovering once again that reading and writing were not the same — you couldn’t just soak it up then squeeze it out again.
I deeply loved this story and it’s safe to say that One Day has earned a place in the top 10 of my favourite books, perhaps even the top 5. It didn’t live up to my expectations — it exceeded them massively! I’m not likely to forget this storyany time soon, and I’m pretty sure this is one of those books that I can reread and reread and will never tire of.