Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

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I’m pretty sure this is a book that most people will have read or a film most people will have watched or at least heard of and I thought it was about time I read the book so that I could finally watch the film. The book has been lingering on my shelf for ages just waiting to be read and now I’ve finally picked it up, I can not put it down it is such a great read.

The book follows two characters, Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley, both go to the the same university for 3 years but only actually meet properly on the night of their graduation and that is where we are brought in. From then it follows the lives of the two over the next 20 years picking up each year on that exact same day they met, St Swithen’s Day.

It is a really accomplished novel with great characters that are very relatable, something I’ve come to expect in Nicholls writing after reading ‘Starter For 10’ last year. Emma, in particular, was a character I related to; a Northern girl who’s off to uni where she does well but then hits a career brick wall makes some questionable life decisions before seeing life pick up in her early 30’s. Her’s is a story that even though it is set in the 90’s she is as relatable now as back then and I constantly found myself cheering on this independent women making her own way in life.

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On the other hand, I had a major problem with Dexter, he’s annoying at the beginning, cocky and full of himself leading to a story that becomes one of drugs, whining and privilege which is where I find myself caring less and less for him. After a novel where he seems to have taken Emma for granted and his self importance takes centre stage, it isn’t until the very final chapters of the book that I start to quite like Dexter. After the shocking and quick turn in events where everything changes so quickly, you really get a sense of his love for Emma, the one thing that remained his most positive feature throughout.

As a pair that have been in love with each other since their first meeting it is a novel of lost loves and it is interesting to see the characters live completely different lives while still trying to hang onto their friendship. Although usually in this scenario I would be cheering on for the pair to finally get together, I wasn’t here. I thought Emma deserved better than Dexter and the other men she had fallen for but maybe I was wrong about Dexter, partially anyway.

This unconventional love story finishes in the way only Nicholls could make it. I’d loved the book from the first page I was hooked on this story and though I may not have had positive feelings about all characters it was still a truly enjoyable read.

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