**spoiler alert** One Day follows Edinburgh University graduates Emma and Dexter over the course of two decades, focussing on July 15th of each year....more**spoiler alert** One Day follows Edinburgh University graduates Emma and Dexter over the course of two decades, focussing on July 15th of each year. It's fairly amusing, with largely believable dialogue, and was just about entertaining enough to ensure I got all the way through it.
Sadly, that's about all it has going for it. Being believeable doesn't make the main characters in the least bit likeable. Dexter has a caddish charm about him that carries through, but Emma's soul purpose in the entire novel appears to be to moan. About herself, her appearance, her prospects, and absolutely every one and every thing else. She spends so much time belittling Dexter that it's beyond me why she means so much to him. He says that she's a good friend to him, but all we really see in these snapshot days are Emma being a moody cow. For over 400 pages.
The length does not work in the novel's favour - Nicholls just doesn't have enough interesting ideas to carry the gimmicky premise for that long, and so a great great deal of One Day is entirely mundane. There are long, long chapters where nothing really happens, yet when the protagonists finally get together, after years and years of increasingly implausible set-backs keeping them apart, it's all over and done with in a few dozen pages.
I know that this is largely the point. Nicholls isn't really writing about the romance, he's writing about the people, and how they grow and change with time. The book is a journey, in a way. Sadly, it's a journey that takes far too many long and twisting back roads and ultimately left me feeling travel sick. One Day to avoid.(less)
This book was entirely lightweight and vacuous, but fun nonetheless. I had a month to read it for my book club, but got through it within a few days....moreThis book was entirely lightweight and vacuous, but fun nonetheless. I had a month to read it for my book club, but got through it within a few days. It's an easy page turner, albeit one with very few likeable characters beyond the narrator. Snobs follows Edith, a fairly wealthy estate agent from London, as she marries into a minor aristocratic family. From first to last it sends up those pretentious folk whose self-worth is defined by social climbing, and does so fairly wittily. It's not a laugh-out-loud book, but it is roundly amusing, if overdone in places. My one substantial niggle was the periods of time skipped. One moment Edith and Charles had been on a single date, the next they were engaged. It made it difficult to gauge the passage of time, so when it was mentioned that they'd been married for two years, I could hardly reconcile that with what had passed and it pulled me right out of the moment. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone hoping for hilarity or an in-depth examination of England's social hierarchy, but as fluffy chick lit, I've read a heck of a lot worse.(less)
Although I'm generally far from a fan of chick-lit, this book made me smile. It follows three generations of women under one roof: the increasingly co...moreAlthough I'm generally far from a fan of chick-lit, this book made me smile. It follows three generations of women under one roof: the increasingly confused Nan, reflecting back on her youth; middle-aged Karen, frustrated by her middle class aspirations and determined her daughter should better her lot in life; and 17-year-old Charlotte, pregnant and set on repeating all her mother's mistakes.
The book is hindered by clarity issues, especially towards the beginning, as it can be hard to discern who is narrating at any given time. Nan's thoughts are presented in a different font, whereas the more-similar-than-they-realise Karen and Charlotte are differentiated only by the occasional line-break. Charlotte's 'voice' is also somewhat suspect - sometimes a little too worldly and knowing for a plausibly frightened teenager.
Overall, though, it's an entertaining read about familial love, acceptance, and the cyclical nature of life and its many mistakes. It's also one of those rare beasts: a book I'd actually share with my own mother. Definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoyed the TV adaptation.(less)