Wednesday, 5 September 2012

One Day - Book Review

One Day is one of those books you just can't put down. I was gripped from the start, although it's not the sort of book I might have thought I would find so addictive, as I normally find books that focus on 'relationships' a little boring.

The characters aren't that inspiring - Dexter is particularly irritating - I guess he comes under the 'loveable rogue' type of character, and you do find yourself wanting to shake Emma (who gets reduced to 'Em' by Dexter) at times for being a bit pathetic. However, they are very 'real' and this really adds to their charm. I certainly found I could relate to the move in Emma from university 'lefty idealist' to someone who seems to get a bit stuck as your average middle class thirty-something.

Nicholls' style of writing is amazing; as I was reading I was thinking 'I wish I could write like this!' - his attention to the minutiae of every day life was so gripping and meant that you felt like you were experiencing the lives of the characters alongside them.

The idea of visiting the characters on a certain day was a stroke of genius - I paticularly liked the way it jumped over some 'key' events in the characters' lives (deaths, births etc) and therefore focused more on the impact of these events rather than dramatising them for their own sake. It was a great tool to use to demonstrate the development of the characters.

Another great literary tool was the use of letters and correspondence between the two characters. The way Nicholls manages to shift the narrative between them is very clever, and he manages it ina seamless fashion, even when the characters were on different continents.

However, on a personal note I do feel that novels that follow the lives of the characters in this way really can only ever have one direction. I felt so happy when the characters achieved goals and made progress - however, I felt the inevitable was always just around the corner and during Emma's bike ride I felt like I knew exactly what was going to happen. (I'm trying not to give away too much here!) I was sat there wishing for a different ending, hoping that Nicholls wasn't going to take the predictable route, but I was disappointed.

So a great, readable book - recommended. I think lots of people would love it. Although personally I wish some things ended up differently, I'm sure that's the bittersweet effect Nicholls was after.

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