As always, David Nicholls knows how to create the most amazing characters ever. He somehow makes it possible for you to create a relationship with the two leading characters of the book that it seems that you are having a twenty year threesome with both Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. They are both very honest and true to life and I guess that is the secret in which makes this an 100% great book to read.
Wikipedia on "One Day":
One Day is a novel by David Nicholls, published in 2009. Each chapter covers the lives of two protagonists on 15 July, St. Swithin's Day, for twenty years. The novel attracted generally positive reviews, and was named 2010 Galaxy Book of the Year. Nicholls has adapted his book into a screenplay; the feature film of the same name was released in August 2011.
Dexter and Emma spend the night together following their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988. They talk about how they will be once they are 40. While they do not become romantically involved completely, this is the beginning of their friendship. The novel visits their lives and their relationship on July 15 in successive years in each chapter for 20 years. Emma wants to improve the world and begins writing and performing plays, which remain unsuccessful, while Dexter travels through the world, drinking and hooking up with women. Eventually both move to London where Emma becomes a waitress in Kentish Town at a Tex-Mex restaurant, while Dexter becomes a successful television presenter.
While there are various attempts from both sides to start a relationship, coincidences stop Emma and Dexter from getting together and while they have relationships with other people, they stay best friends, both secretly longing for the other. They are drawn together closer through a holiday together and the death of Dexter's mother.
Ian, Emma's boyfriend breaks up with her after he realizes that she is in love with Dexter and not with him. During this time Emma is able to find a job as a teacher, after various years of struggle, despite a "double-first degree". Dexter meanwhile develops a drinking and drug problem and watches his career collapse. The friendship between Emma and Dexter grows more and more difficult, after Emma is constantly hurt by Dexter who attempts to hide his feelings for her from both her and himself. After being treated rudely by Dexter at a restaurant, Emma breaks up the friendship.
At the wedding of Emma's former roommate, Emma and Dexter meet again. Emma admits that she wants Dexter back. At this point of time she has just ended an affair with her headmaster, Dexter has fallen in love with another woman, Sylvie, who is pregnant. At this reunion, he invites Emma to his wedding, who is disappointed by the situation.
Emma eventually overcomes her problems and publishes a book, while Dexter is unemployed and overwhelmed by his role as a father. After realizing this, he and Emma for the first time have sex. They do not get together and Emma leaves to go to Paris to write her second novel. When Dexter visits her in Paris, he learns that she met someone and likes him and for the first time admits his feelings to her. After talking about their relationship, Emma chooses Dexter.
Emma and Dexter get married and are happy together, however Emma wants a child. The couple finds themselves frustrated by the failing attempts to have a child. Dexter however is able to open a deli-cafe and finds himself suddenly successful again. On the anniversary of the day they met after graduation and the day they got together, Emma and Dexter have an appointment to see a house. While travelling there, Emma has a bike accident and dies. After her death, Dexter finds himself in despair. He starts to drink again and provokes people in bars in order to get beaten. He is comforted through his ex-wife Sylvie, his father and his daughter. The upcoming year he travels together with his daughter to Edinburgh where he and Emma met and they climb the same mountain together that Emma and Dexter climbed 19 years ago.
The book ends with a memory of what happened after that first night together in 1988 and Emma's and Dexter's first kiss and promise to stay in touch and their goodbye.
Writing in The Times, John O'Connell writes, "For, in spite of its comic gloss, One Day is really about loneliness and the casual savagery of fate; the tragic gap between youthful aspiration and the compromises that we end up tolerating. Not for nothing has Nicholls said that it was inspired by Thomas Hardy." A critic in thelondonpaper observes that One Day"may be a love story, but it’s no fairytale: Nicholls doesn’t shy from the dark side of growing up, the disillusionment, regrets and random cruelty of life.". According to Jonathan Coe (Guardian Books of the Year 2009), "It's rare to find a novel which ranges over the recent past with such authority, and even rarer to find one in which the two leading characters are drawn with such solidity, such painful fidelity, to real life."
The novel attracted mainly positive reviews. Writing in The Guardian, Harry Ritchie called it "a very persuasive and endearing account of a close friendship - the delight Emma and Dexter take in one another, the flirting and the banter that sometimes hide resentment and sometimes yearning, the way the relationship shifts and evolves as the years pass." Ritchie comments, "Just as Nicholls has made full use of his central concept, so he has drawn on all his comic and literary gifts to produce a novel that is not only roaringly funny but also memorable, moving and, in its own unassuming, unpretentious way, rather profound." This story is reminiscent of Same Time Next Year.
Elizabeth Day of The Observer also praises the novel, although criticising "its structural flaws", since "some of the most important events in their life are never recounted." Despite this, she concludes by commenting "there is no doubt that One Day is a beguiling read. But although I really liked it, I wanted desperately to love it because Nicholls is, I think, a far better writer than this format allows him to be."
The Times deflected comparisons to When Harry Met Sally..., "saccharine" assumptions, and expectations that the "more literary" will snobbishly gratify themselves that they never read "'commercial' romantic comedies with cartoons and squiggly writing on the cover. Well, be convinced: One Day is a wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad. It's also, with its subtly political focus on changing habits and mores, the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up."
Author Nick Hornby also praised the book on his blog, calling it "A big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable on-off love story." His blurb is used in some editions of the book, such as the U.S. paperback edition.
In 2010, the novel was named Popular Fiction Book of the Year at the UK's annual Galaxy National Book Awards ceremony, and was later granted the accolade of Galaxy Book of the Year.
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