Opening Line: "I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference"
So I’m going to try to write a somewhat sensible review here that doesn’t come across as all gushy fan-girl. I will say (hopefully only once) that I adored this book but you should know that I'm a bit of a sucker for a tragedy too. ONE DAY was brilliant in every way; making me laugh and cry while filling me with nostalgia and longing. And because I’m the same age as Dexter and Emma the time frame here was also totally relatable (see nostalgia) with little details I had forgotten about from the past two decades.
Equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious yet also suspenseful as each chapter takes place a year to the day after the last one so you have to figure out what’s happened in that time between. And of course you want the H/h to get together so you’re waiting with bated breathe for them to finally “see” each other too. In the end this also made me want to seize the day like it’s my last, phone up all my long lost friends and lovers and look at old photographs. Hmmm and I haven’t even gotten into the genius of the writing yet (how do you put that into words?)
I knew that writing a review here was going to be difficult (when you love a book this much there doesn’t seem to be enough correct words to do it justice) and I promised myself to just keep this short and to the point so here goes... This is one of the most hilarious, perceptive, witty, moving and heartbreaking books I have ever read.
Told in 5 parts in alternating POV’s and over a span of twenty years Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley meet in 1988. Em has just graduated from university and hooked up with that boy she’s seen around for ages. He is Dexter, beautiful, pretentious and in his mind destined for greatness. As the sun rises they drink wine and talk about their futures. They have their whole lives stretching out ahead of them in an endless number of days and isn’t it going to be wonderful they can achieve anything they want to.
Starting as lovers Dexter and Emma continue as friends and the book joins them on July 15th of each year (St Swithin’s day) through their 20’s and 30’s and into their 40’s. As anyone in their 40’s knows, life happens and it doesn’t always go as planned, missed opportunities and the like.
“When I was younger everything seemed possible. Now nothing does.”
Through phone calls and letters, in different countries and towns, through assorted relationships, jobs and life’s little surprises and ruts we join Em and Dex each year in a unique snapshot of their life. They don’t always get along but they do think about each other everyday in some way and in case you haven’t figured it out this is ultimately a love story.
I can’t say much more about this without giving it all away. But when I read the last word I wanted to start it again and nothing I’ve tried to read since compares. Cheers.
“Live each day as if it’s your last, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that?”