Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day

by David Nicholls
published 2009
completed September 2010

In the opening pages, we meet Dexter and Emma spending a drunken evening together on the night of their graduation from University, July 15, 1988.  We meet up with them again each chapter, once a year, on July 15th

When I read summaries of this novel, I kept thinking that each year they happened to meet again on the very same day, which sounded incredibly unrealistic.  I was pleased to find that this was not the case.  Nicholls just gives us a glimpse into their lives on that one day each year.  I loved this choice because the facts of what happened the previous year slowly come out and you feel like you are piecing together a puzzle.

I loved Dexter and Emma from page one.  This book really sucked me in and I didn’t want to put it down.  I don’t know how Nicholls managed, but he made two deeply flawed characters come alive and made me care about them.  They felt like friends, and when they do stupid things, you still love them but feel like smacking them upside the head and saying, “Get it together!”

I don’t want to give too much away because I think it would ruin the reading experience.  This book was not predictable.  You may assume certain things will happen, but they never happen at the time or manner in which you expect them to.  One Day runs the gamut of emotions.  There is humor, joy, sadness, anger, and frustration. It is well written.  I usually end up rolling my eyes at most books with love stories because of the tired euphemisms and clich├ęs, but Nicholls doesn’t go there.  His writing is intelligent and witty.  I loved how he ended the book.  I won’t go into details, but it was perfect.

This book actually made me cry.  Not like a baby, but a few tears.  I don’t usually cry while reading books.  The only book I remember crying while reading was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver about six years ago and I was pregnant, so I blame it on the hormones.  I’m not currently pregnant, so I have no excuse.  

There are some very adult themes in this book, so I am hesitant to recommend this to everyone.  There is a lot of language and heavy drug and alcohol use.  If you are not bothered by those things, read it!  I bet you’ll fall in love with Dexter and Emma too.


  1. This sounds awesome! Except for the fact that it made you cry. If it got you, it will get me too. :)

  2. Kathy--you might make it out of One Day alright. I really enjoyed it despite the couple of tears shed. I think the particular situation in the book hit a little too close to home.

  3. Wasn't it good? And I cried at the end too.

    And it was neat how he did the one day thing; I don't think it would have worked if he had done it like they meet on the same day each year.

  4. That too-close-to-home thing is exactly what happened to me with Looking for Alaska. And it wasn't even really that close to home!