Best of: books for ages 18+ #8: ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls
Published in 2009, this novel received a great deal of success, including generally positive reviews. It’s easy to read, and long enough to get thoroughly involved in the characters’ lives.
‘One Day’ follows two characters, Em and Dex, from the night they meet, on the day of their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. It then joins them every year thereafter on that one day, and little at a time, it charts their lives as they unfold.
The style is fascinating, as it captures the minute details of their lives in each chapter. By skipping a year at a time, it also gives us a look at their lives on a greater scale. Time passes quickly as we flip the pages, and a terrifying feeling of the passing of time vibrates through the book’s spine.
While not always appealing, the characters of Dex and Em are utterly realistic. They get bored, do silly but non-dramatic things, and generally make a mess of their lives. If nothing else, this novel is an amazing cautionary tale for those on the brink of their adult lives – the ‘what not to do’s will resonate as strongly as the exciting events and silly jokes. It has some very sad moments, but otherwise is perfect holiday reading.
By the same author: A couple of similar novels, including the recently-published ‘Us’.