And it was at moments like this that she had to remind herself that she was in love with him, or had once been in love with him, a long time ago.
I wasn’t aware that One Day existed until I saw the movie preview. No, that’s a lie. It wasn’t until my dad was driving me somewhere and said something like, “There’s a new When Harry Met Sally with Anne Hathaway in it” that my attention was caught.
I am so pleased that I read the book before seeing the movie. It’s better by leaps and bounds, and my familiarity with the story made the movie better because I already knew these people – Dex and Em, Em and Dex. I felt that the movie failed to portray their characters well enough, specifically Emma’s development. This book relies heavily on the relationship, but the relationship relies so much upon their individual journeys, and I think the movie missed that memo.
One Day is hilarious. Its comedic tone is pretty sarcastic and can be kind of jarring at times, but it’s so much fun! I loved that Nicholls made their actions into subtle jokes that can be interpreted in whatever way the reader likes, and these jokes became more and more fun as I got to know Em and Dex better. I felt like some kind of insider, sharing all these personal jokes, feeling so familiar with these people and the way they are.
Unfortunately, I always felt closer to Dexter. I was surprised how endearing he could be while making the dumbest and lamest decisions imaginable. Really, he’s kind of a loser… but he’s my loser, you know? His childish, self-destructive, and admittedly selfish ways are simply a means to an end. I’m sure there was an easier way to get there, but after a few drinks and some illicit drugs, it’s difficult to see clearly. I was so anxious for him to pull his life together because, despite all the mistakes and the terrible consequences, he had so much potential to be incredible.
Emma is funny, witty, and awriter. I’ll admit that her interest in writing drew me to her. However, she often seemed bitter and cynical. Those faults, though, are certainly less detrimental than Dexter’s. I suppose the reason I didn’t feel as tender toward her was that she seemed less vulnerable and more distant. I simply didn’t feel the same excitement when “spending time with her” that I did when I was with Dexter.
The format that Nicholls has chosen – resuming the story on July 15th from 1988 to 2008 – was something I’d never seen before, and I loved it! I never knew what to expect from one year to the next. So much can change. So much did change. The years aren’t focused on equally, some chapters being shorter than others, but I never felt like I was missing anything. Nicholls did a stellar job of weaving the events and changes that occurred in the past year into the new chapter in order to keep the reader from feeling lost or left behind.
Nicholls also alternates between Dexter’s and Emma’s points-of-view. This is one of the few multi-POV books I’ve read that had voices that were easily distinguishable. I knew within the first two paragraphs who was narrating. As the story and characters developed, I loved it more and more. Sure, there were a few particular events that made me sick to my stomach or deeply disapproving, but most of the time I was so invested in their lives I didn’t care. There came one point near the end, this sort of cataclysmic event, at which I was really irritated. The author seemed to throw in one of the most terribly cliché and “Hallmark-y” events imaginable, undoubtedly hoping for a deep emotional response. Instead, I was hardly affected. I was too caught up in how disappointing it was! To make matters worse, the event didn’t really lead to further character development, and I still don’t think its presence is really justified. Sure, sometimes events are random and serve no purpose in life, but this was too contrived to be excused.
Anyway… it did result in one of my favorite scenes, and that was heartbreaking. Jim Sturgess does such a fantastic job in the movie that I couldn’t help tearing up. I suppose I’ll just have to live with the hallmark-i-ness.
Ultimately, One Day is a comedic, blunt, and affecting novel that illustrates two people’s lives and the intricate way they’re weaved together in such an acute way that it’s difficult not to be hooked. Though it fell prey to some disappointing elements, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something that captures both the most uplifting and degrading moments in two people’s lives. One Day is the story of how Emma Morely and Dexter Mayhew became Em and Dex. (less)
What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.
Well, apparently, this summer has been quite busier than I previously expected. I apologize sincerely for the month-long gap. In that time, I have read The Fellowship of the Ring (the first of the Lord of the Rings series), The Magician's Nephew (the first of the Chronicles of Narnia), and have gotten mid-way through Two Towers (book two of the LOTR). Ideally, I will have reviews for them all posted by the end of the summer.
And without further ado...
The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis, as I said before, is the first of the Chronicles of Narnia. I read about half of them years ago, but remember very little of them. How I managed to forget Lewis's incredible symbolism, cleverness, and humor is beyond me. Upon rereading this book, I've become eager to read the rest.
Many people are familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It's certainly one of the most beloved Lewis novels. However, this book proves that Lewis's brilliance is present in his other novels as well - perhaps even to a greater degree. Reading this book now, older and prepared to truly appreciate it, I marveled at the work Lewis did to tell this story.
Undoubtedly, my Christian upbringing enriched The Magician's Nephew. Every chapter held something that I could relate to something scriptural. I loved this. Not only because it was fascinating to see how Lewis managed it, but because I felt I was reading something worthwhile and beneficial. However, you need not have a similar background in order too apprciate the story and characters themselves.
The characters, Digory and Polly, are quintessential little children from the time period. Their behaviors are always in character, yet Lewis accounts for natural diversions from the expected. Both of the children made decisions throughout the book that demonstrated their increasing development. I could not help but be glad that, though cute and fun, both kids were deliciously human. Similarly, the "magician," Digory's uncle, is very human... in a less positive way. His greediness and shallow character made him very fun to dislike.
And then there's Aslan. What can a person say about Aslan that is not entirely positive? His wisdom and empathy are admirable and beautiful. Who would have thought a giant cat could be so wonderful?
If you're not the type to be intrigued by symbolism and character, there's most certainly something here for you. The worlds themselves are confusing in an intriguing way, and there's a perfectly fabulous villain to spice things up. Jadis and her interactions with other people are hilarious and terrifying at the same time. As a reader, I certainly knew what was at stake and who I would cheer for.
This book builds the world that Lewis and his characters continue to explore in later novels. The birth of Narnia is breathtaking, particularly when written in Lewis's style - beautifully detailed in a uniquely witty way (and with many parentheses).
Ultimately, any lover of fantasy, AND/OR symbolism, AND/OR adventure, AND/OR character, AND/OR Narnia itself is bound to appreciate some aspect of this unique story. I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it. Because of its depth and the many ways one could interpret parts of it, I recommend this book as a book club book. Because of its entertaining qualities and enjoyable lessons, I recommend this book as a book to read your children. Because of its myriad enriching qualities, I recommend it to everyone. (less)
It's the most wonderful and terrible thing that can ever happen to you... You know that you've found something amazing, and you want to hold on to it forever; and every second after you have it, you fear the moment you might lose it...
Love is beautiful fear.
I love this series so much. It's a "light" read, but there's more than meets the eye. The fun of the Bachelor/Cinderella story is balanced by the more serious nature of the dystopian world and the mounting "dissatisfaction" with the monarchy therein. The Selection (Review) set the stage for this, but The Elite takes the hints and whispers of a near uprising and turns them into violent acts and riots. The climax is on its way, and for that reason, I can't stand the idea of waiting till May 2014 for the final book in the trilogy.
Of course, if you're not into the social commentary side of things, there's still much to have fun with in The Elite. However, as most second installments are, this book is riddled with trouble and conflict, all in preparation for what I'm sure will be a fantastically stressful climax.
With conflict comes irritation, in my opinion. There's no way that every character can handle conflict gracefully (or even rationally), so it's inevitable that some become a nuisance. The cast of The Elite is no exception. I found that America dug her hole deeper and deeper as the book progressed, particularly in the ever-maddening love triangle area, but, as usual, she proves that her integrity can't be shaken so easily and that, despite her mistakes, she intends to make things right.
In fact, America's development is one of the most exciting elements of the book. As she becomes more and more aware of the strife that strains her country, she is simultaneously forced to consider the idea of becoming the princess and being in a position of power. The combination of the two means that she has the potential to do great things for Ilea, but America soon realizes that being princess (or prince) does not guarantee the freedom to do what one believes is right. It may mean sacrificing her beliefs and idly standing by as people are taken advantage of - whatever it takes to have the favor of the King.
Did I say I was going to talk about the "fun," lighthearted stuff? Sorry. Haha.
There is a lot to be found in the pages of this book. The challenge to win over Prince Maxon continues, but only a handful of girls remain. Every girl steps up her game, perfecting her strategies, and, because of the nature of the competition, this is always at another girl's expense. So, of course, there are ample opportunities for drama.
However, as many of you know, that sort of drama is less fun and more torturous for this wordbird. Yet, I can't resist a complicated love story. What girl doesn't like to watch the development of a relationship, against all odds? I'm Team Maxon all the way, and although I couldn't stand the stressful moments in their relationship, I mean "couldn't stand" in the most ridiculous, girlish way, which translates into: I had so much fun.
So, yes, this series brings out the silly girlishness in me, but it can appeal to people looking for "heavier stuff." I appreciate that they're easy reads, but I always enjoy a more serious aspect, and The Elite supplies both. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced read that combines lighthearted fun with a thought-provoking dystopian world. (less)