One Day by David Nicholls
It may have a contrived plot, and be the sort of chick-lit-ish book written by a bloke that many blokes will actually read, but One Day is not an ordinary book. Barring a slightly flabby middle, it was an all-absorbing read that twanged all my emotional heartstrings…
It charts the lives of Emma and Dexter, starting on graduation night when they drunkenly fall into bed together, realise that they may have something, but with the rest of their lives just about to start, they swear to be friends and keep in touch. Then we keep up with them over the next twenty years through all life’s ups and downs as they keep passing in and out of each others lives. However we just get a snapshot – just one day out of each year on the anniversary of that first meeting in 1985 on St Swithun’s Day, July 15.
That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, as I don’t want to give anything away – of course you hope that they’ll get it together, just like in When Harry Met Sally. The ‘one day’ device may be contrived but it works because we are drawn to Emma and Dexter right from the off and there is some sparkling repartee between them, this quote is from 1995 and Dex has taken Em out to a ‘in’ Club-Restaurant …
‘I eat out most days now. As a matter of fact, I’ve been asked if I want to review for one of the Sundays.’
‘Cocktail bars. Weekly column called “Barfly”, sort of man-about town thing.’
‘And you’d write it yourself?’
‘Of course I’d write it myself!,’ he said, though he had been assured that the column would be heavily ghosted.
‘What is there to say about cocktails?’
‘You’d be surprised. Cocktails are very cool now. Sort of a retro glamour thing. In fact -’ he put his mouth to the empty martini glass ‘-I’m something of a mixologist myself.’
‘I’m sorry, I thought you said “misogynist”.’
‘Ask me how to make a cocktail, any cocktail you like.’
She pressed her chin with her finger. ‘Okay, um … lager top!’
‘I’m serious , Em. It’s a real skill.’
‘Mixology. People go on special courses.’
‘Maybe you should have done it for your degree.’
‘It would certainly have been more fucking useful.’
David Nicholls is probably the new Nick Hornby. So if you like him, you’ll probably enjoy Nicholls, (though I’ve yet to read Starter for Ten - although I enjoyed the film). This novel was clever, moving and fun – recommended for a light but thoroughly engaging read. (9/10)
I bought this book.
* * * * *