“One Day” by David Nicholls


I have heard some mixed reviews of One Day by David Nicholls (recently made into a movie with Anne Hathaway…anyone seen it? I still have not.) One of my good friends said she was not too impressed and kept waiting for the action to happen, when it never really took off. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed this British novel and would highly recommend it for its relatable characters and different style. It is not the “everything is perfect and everyone’s life is fabulous” storyline we so often see in chick-lit, but I admittedly am a sucker for a depressing story. Maybe depressing isn’t the right word. Let’s try “emo…”

One Day opens in Emma Morley’s dorm room in Edinburg (UK) on July 15, 1988 with Dexter Mayhew. The two college seniors have just spent their first night together, which Emma hopes will blossom into a full-fledged romance, and Dexter assumes will be just another of many one-night stands from his college career. Neither expects what does become of their relationship to happen.  The novel continues to follow Dexter and Emma, giving a snapshot of their lives, sometimes separate, sometimes together, on the same day, July 15, year after year. The reader is able to peer into the lives of each character and follow how their relationship continues throughout, ebbing and flowing from hardships to happiness. Right after college, Dexter travels the world, sending postcards home from exotic locations to Emma, who is stuck in England, struggling to become a successful author and playwright. As time progresses, Dexter works his way up in entertainment and eventually becomes a famous television personality and producer.  He has his regular flings with woman after woman but always has a soft spot in his heart for his dear friend Emma. Meanwhile, Emma becomes an English teacher and begins an unfulfilled relationship with a wannabe stand-up comedian she met when waiting tables at the local Mexican restaurant dive. She can’t help but long for something more with her best friend Dexter, but at the same time, can’t stand the pompous star he has become.

Though the life events and of both Emma and Dexter are ordinary, mundane things that every reader has probably, at one point, experienced, Nicholls writes them into attention keeping  happenings that leaves you hanging on from year to year. Will Dexter and Emma ever admit to their love and be together? Keep reading and you just might find out…one day.


4 thoughts on ““One Day” by David Nicholls

  1. One Day was actually a rare example when I enjoyed the movie better than the book! Though I loved Nicholls’ Starter For Ten, I was disappointed with this one . . . or maybe just with how everything went down. I felt emotionally manipulated somehow. I know I’m in the minority with that, but I actually felt better bonded to the characters after seeing the film!

    1. Thanks for your response, Meg! Like I said, I still have not seen the movie. Maybe I shouldn’t, for fear that it might take away my love for the book. I agree though, the ending was quite heavy, so I can understand your opinion. I have not read “Starter for Ten” so I will need to check that out!

  2. I did not see the movie, but also did not know until recently that it was based on a novel. This is the second positive review I’ve read, so I think I’ll add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the suggestion!

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