So, I just read One Day. It happened on accident, really—I had no intention of doing so, but a friend of mine threw the book at me and said, “Read it.”
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much. Sure, the movie was pleasant, but kind of standard chick-flick fair, and the ending really stood out as jarring and unnecessary to me.
Let me just say, the phrase “the book is better” has never been more applicable than now. Even though David Nicholls wrote the screenplay and the novel, the book is still so much better.
The novel is about Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, and is told one day at at time—literally. Each chapter is a new day, a new July 15. Sometimes Emma and Dexter interact with each other and sometimes the book just examines their personal growth.
David Nicholls has a really nice writing style, and is especially good at characterization. Indeed, this story isn’t just about an enduring love affair—it’s about two people. Two regular, fallible, sometimes blinded and sometimes perfect people who spark and shine through their interactions with friends, loved ones and most of all each other.
This novel didn’t feel like Nicholas Sparks’ latest schmaltzy affair. It felt like an epic romance within the proportions of real life—two people who do not always get along, do not always like each other or themselves, but somehow just fit together. And, like real people, they’re thick-headed and take nearly a decade to realize that yes, they are in fact meant to be Em and Dex, Dex and Em.
It feels so realistic that it had me looking at my life, wondering who I knew that I might end up with in 8 years’ time. It was a frightening notion, let me tell you. But also kind of eye-opening, which is probably this book’s greatest strength—it feels realistic. Em and Dex have successes and failures, and they have each other. And because it’s so real, it makes the ending work better, because life is unpredictable and we never have any idea what might happen next.
It feels like reality made just a little more beautiful by Nicholl’s smart observations. And it feels like actual love, and not what Hollywood and even the movie version of this story dress love up to be. Highly recommended.
‘I thought I’d finally got rid of you.’
‘I don’t think you can.’