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One Day

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15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?
--back cover

435 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

David Nicholls

23 books3,707 followers
David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity card. He worked sporadically as an actor for the next eight years, eventually earning a three year stint at the Royal National Theatre, followed by a job at BBC Radio Drama as a script reader/researcher. This led to script-editing jobs at London Weekend Television and Tiger Aspect Productions.

During this period, he began to write, developing an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s stage-play Simpatico with the director Matthew Warchus, an old friend from University. He also wrote his first original script, a situation comedy about frustrated waiters, Waiting, which was later optioned by the BBC.

Simpatico was turned into a feature film in 1999, and this allowed David to start writing full-time. He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards and his first novel, Starter for Ten was featured on the first Richard and Judy Book Club.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 18,803 reviews
Profile Image for Laura.
33 reviews8 followers
November 7, 2012
Rarely am I left speechless, I usually have plenty to say, but as I reflected on this novel, I realized there would be no surefire way to describe this book. It is a complete conundrum. Readers will either love or hate this book, I don’t think it there is much of a middle road with this one. It will speak to those with similar personal experiences.

I enjoyed the format. It gives the reader snapshots of Dex and Em’s life, like flipping through a stack of polaroids, just a flash of what was going on at a particular time. Picking the same day established a sequence and highlighted that life and circumstances can change so quickly at times, or not change at all as was in Em’s case when two days start exactly the same. I think this was an intelligent way to approach a story that spans 20 years. We don’t really need a full depiction of every single event in their lives to have a sense of what they are going through.

Characterization was excellent. Dex and Em quickly became real in my mind, as if I was peeking into the lives of a couple of friends, or reading their journal pages. I too quickly began to know what Emma would or would not like just as Dex did. The characters were genuine. Some reviews say that they were stereotypical…but I find that some people latch onto stereotypes, it helps them define themselves. I feel this is what Emma was doing in her youth with her political stances and thus why they are not as important as she grows older. So are they really stereotypical characters? Or are they just portraying their ideal personas as so many people do?

I find that comparisons to When Harry met Sally fall short. I understand the reasons for the comparisons in that they are both about friends that seem to circle back every few years and make sarcastic quips to one another. But I feel like it ends there. To me, this is more of a modernized Wuthering Heights.

The author’s ability to write from a woman’s POV is refreshing. I am hesitant when I read something written by a man, trying to sound like a woman. I generally feel like it’s not authentic,like there is something off. Not with this book. Em thought the way I would think, said things that I would say.

In the end, this novel deeply affected me. I have not read something that has touched me this much in some time. It spoke to me completely as I was tortured by my own Dex in my youth and early adulthood. The emotions are portrayed as they should be; the frustration, the yearning are, from my perspective, completely legitimate. I found myself feeling like I was reading bits and pieces of my own story. I had knots in my stomach through most of the book and after finishing this at 1 am this morning, I could do nothing but stare at the ceiling and walls, absorbing what I had read, tearing it apart mentally, and extracting lessons from it to be applied in life. That, for me, is the mark of a wonderful novel, reading that reaches into your soul and touches your heart, writing that moves you to feel.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
289 reviews
October 23, 2011

(I just copied this from my blog...and, didn't realize until it was pointed out to me (below) that I didn't copy the whole thing sorry!)

Please be warned this blog post contains SPOILERS for the following books: One Day, Message in a Bottle, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Lord of the Rings, The Way We Were, A Walk to Remember, Atonement, Bridges of Madison County, The Time Travelers Wife, The English Patient

This is the first book that is so beautiful that I want to quote it and keep it with me, and, yet I hate it...I mean seriously hate it! I am sorry I read it, if I hadn't bought it on the Nook I'd burn it. I don't want to read anymore books by this author just incase he tricks me again! I want to...I am crying...shame on David Nicholls...*insert cuss-words here* And, no I WILL NOT be watching the movie...seriously! Yes, I hated the ending that much, not since Atonement have I felt this emotionally cheated.

Emma Morley dies and no, I, in no way, saw that coming. Why didn't I see that coming because this book One Day by David Nicholls (a name that will be seared in my brain so I don't slip up and buy one of his books again) was not advertised as a book in the same vain as Message in a Bottle . See, the thing is I hate when books have needless death and dying. I hate books that intentionally kill off characters you love (think the Weasley twin in HP7 ) to make you cry, not to propel the plot along. And, in this book, after reading about 360 pages of a wonderfully tormented friendship on the verge of something more I was relating to the characters, to the places (I mean Emma has a flat in Earl's Court, really, Earl's Court) and I was relating to the hurt and desire of wanting your best friend...hmm...I was relating soooo much, that when Emma died I felt like a friend died and my breathing became erratic and my world darkened. Frankly, if I'd known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have read the book as I do not read such books. And, that's just it...I feel that Mr. Nicholls had Emma die towards the end (because yes, there's still like 30ish pages after her death...I don't know why...I suppose so you can short out your Nook crying while reading) because that was the ending no one expected. This is what I feel Nicholas Sparks, who is on my banned book list did with Message in a Bottle and what I feel Ian McEwan did in Atonement (what a shame the ending of that was!) and what I feel The Time Travelers Wife was, I mean that book doesn't even adhere to the science of time-travel or the science it creates in the story (if you can...um...er...'meet' yourself, you can also 'save' yourself...I mean he even knew what was over there in the forest...gah!). I'm not into gimmicks and I am not into tricks while reading. I don't have to guess the ending and I don't have to see it coming, but I do have to feel, at the end, that the book and its characters led to the conclusion.

I have, for many years, read books that use to death or separation to propel the plot. I was a little sad that Boromir died in Lord of the Rings , I was a little sad when Jaimie died in A Walk to Remember , and, I cried like someone died at the end of Bridges of Madison County (you know the part where all she has to do is get out of the truck and leave her whole life behind to be with the one she loves and she's there grabbing at the handle and you know she isn't going to do it, but you want her to, you really want her to), I don't mind that The English Patient dies, I don't mind that Hubbell and Katie never get together in The Way We Were . I understand weakness and I understand death when it is used in a proper way to drive home the major themes and symbols of a book or movie. Nicholls used Emma's death to do neither.

I read a review on GoodReads (I read many reviews looking for closure and answers) that talked about how David Nicholls wrote a book that didn't really address any audience and therefore made a certain type of audience incredibly upset. This is true, maybe he didn't understand his audience. I know I'm all for learning about relationship mistakes in a work of fiction, I just don't need characters to die to do that. I also know that there are people who love this book, just like there are people who can't get enough of Nicholas Sparks.

I have had enough of both.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
August 30, 2010
Frankly, after reading a spoiler about the ending, I simply have no will to continue on, there is just no pay-off after enduring this depressing tale sprinkled with occasional one-liners. Granted, I am never opposed to taking a good dose of drama, but melodrama I detest.

This story is about a man and a woman who one day come together as lovers, then break up, but stay connected. Their relationship is followed through the next 20 years by presenting just one day - July 15th - out of their lives.

This is indeed a great premise (and technique), but I wish they were used on different characters and situations. Both Dexter and Emma are not likable enough for me to care to see how their relationship unfolds. I dislike watching Dexter waste his life on partying and hooking up and Emma - on pining over him for years. There is nothing remotely romantic, deep, or compelling about it IMO.

I agree with one of the reviewers here who said that the author didn't quite know his target audience. One Day is neither a literary fiction (which can spin the star-crossed lovers theme in a meaningful way - see Atonement), nor a light-hearted chick lit (some reviewers mistakenly compare this novel to the movie "When Harry Met Sally"). It is somewhere in the middle, which is, IMO, a decently written relationship melodrama, perfect examples of which are The Time Traveler's Wife and tear-jerkers by Nicholas Sparks, Jennifer Weiner,Jodi Picoult and the likes. But alas, this is not my favored genre.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,101 reviews1,594 followers
February 3, 2023


Non sono un fan di Hornby.
Neppure di Coe, ma per lui ho più interesse.
Però, non abbastanza interesse da arrivare in fondo a questo libro nonostante la sua raccomandazione.
Mi avevano detto che le prime 70/100 pagine non erano all’altezza delle seguenti (ma nessuno mi aveva avvertito della bassezza): sono arrivato a 124, un quarto del libro, e direi che basta, non è necessario bere tutta la botte per sapere se il vino è buono.
So già dove vuole andare a parare: Nicholls vuole farmi piangere a tutti i costi.
È la sua vendetta per ‘Love Story’ che mi lasciò impassibile.

Nicholls è uno sceneggiatore, di TV e cinema: la sua professione principale determina la sua scrittura, secondo me, in modo vistoso e insopportabile.
È tutto un dare indicazioni: indicazioni per il futuro regista (ché tanto tutti i suoi libri finiscono sullo schermo, è evidente l’intento - qui per esempio, c’è Anne ‘Smorfietta’ Hathaway all’opera nella parte di Emma), indicazioni per gli attori, per il casting…

E anche indicazioni per il lettore, che invece, nel mio caso, vorrebbe essere libero di interpretare a sua scelta – ma non può, perché è tutto smaccato e sottolineato.

Il mestiere col quale Nicholls si guadagna da vivere viene fuori anche nella mediocrità della scrittura.
Vogliamo poi parlare della sciattezza della traduzione e dell’edizione?!
[Peccato, perché uno dei due traduttori è Marco Rossari, di cui ho letto un paio di libri interessanti e divertenti].

Passerotta e passerotto in”One Day-Un giorno” di Lone Scherfig, 2011.

Già a p.2 leggo che Emma provò per lui un brivido rassicurante di repulsione.
Ho provato a lungo a immaginare come Anne Hathaway ci mostrerà un brivido rassicurante di repulsione nei confronti di Dexter (Jim Sturgess) e probabilmente è l’unica cosa di questo romanzo che mi resterà da scoprire (perché, il film io certo non lo vedrò).

Ecco un’altra chicca per la Hathaway: a un certo punto dovrà scivolare giù dallo sgabello come se stesse per tuffarsi nelle acque del Polo Nord. Cara Anne, ti aspetta una dura prova. Ma so che con le solite smorfiette riuscirai a portare il compito a casa, come ha fatto Meg Ryan per anni.

Poi ci sono le lettere che i due si scambiano, dove Nicholls dà il meglio di sé (nel senso, ovviamente, del peggio di sé): parole tutte in maiuscolo, acronimi che dovrebbero far sorridere, sottolineature, giovanilismi vari, un mix tremendo che spingerebbe a saltare queste zone della narrazione, se non fosse che il racconto procede proprio attraverso queste lettere.

Miciotto e miciotta.

Evito l’elenco di tutte le mie sottolineature alla scelta di metafore o alle descrizioni o alle battute di dialogo che Nicholls adotta e che secondo me non sono degne di Harmony (che non ho mai letto, e forse per questo, rispetto di più).
Aggiungo che i personaggi sono insopportabili: alla faccia dell’originalità, proprio come in ‘Love Story’, lui è ricco e lei no.
Dexter è un avventuriero, un ‘pioniere’ perché esce con un paio di jeans bermuda senza mutande, impavido e spudorato. Non ha mai visto un film di Fellini anche se vive e insegna a Roma. Emma gli dice …diventare una intellettuale coscienziosa. Dexter non era sicuro di capire quel termine, ma all’interno della parola ‘coscienziosa’ aveva individuato “cosce” e questo pavlovianamente bastò a provocargli una mezza erezione.
O anche: Dexter non amava farsi passare per un vanesio, ma a volte avrebbe voluto che ci fosse qualcuno nei paraggi a importunarlo con la macchina fotografica.
Mi pare non ci sia bisogno di commenti.

Piccioncina e piccioncino.

Ma se non bastasse, più avanti si legge perfino che nei rari momenti d’insicurezza, Dexter si era preoccupato che la sua scarsa intelligenza potesse penalizzarlo nella vita, ma il suo era un lavoro dove contavano soprattutto la fiducia in se stessi, l’energia, magari anche un po’ di arroganza, tutte qualità che erano alla sua portata.
Sì, bisognava essere intelligenti, ma non come Emma. Bastava essere maneggioni, furbi, arrivisti.

Lei, Emma, è anche peggio di lui: non solo perché è innamorata di un tomo simile, ma anche perché è già vecchia a 20 anni, bacchettona, rigida, si lamenta sempre, probabilmente è già malata di qualcosa, e non riesce neppure a godersi il fatto di essere una bellissima ragazza.

Tenerella e tenerello.

E poi, ci sarebbe da aggiungere che la deliziosa trovata di dividere il romanzo per capitoli che si svolgono tutti nello stesso giorno, il 15 luglio, uno a distanza di un anno dall’altro, per me risulta una scelta perdente e frustrante, un po' come... beh, lasciamo perdere.
Tra l’altro, ho già visto un paio di film con questa struttura e non mi sono piaciuti per niente.

Mi accorgo che mischio libri e film come se fossero della stessa natura.
Il fatto è che questo romanzo è sostanzialmente una sceneggiatura rilegata.

Questo libro è nella mia lista scambiabili: spero che trovi subito qualcuno interessato, non vedo l’ora di liberarmene.
E il 29 settembre ci sono riuscito, me ne sono liberato! Evviva!

Lupacchiotta e lupacchiotto.
Profile Image for Brittany.
72 reviews13 followers
January 4, 2011
Is love really all that difficult? Yes, yes it is. David Nicholls crafts a beautiful love story about two people who are so different that they really only have one thing in common: they are both mad for each other. The frustrating thing is though, that however much these two people love each other, they maintain a "friends only" status throughout most of the book. What starts out as a possible love affair after just graduating college, Emma and Dexter's chemistry and attraction falls through the cracks as the years pass. Distance, missed opportunities, and even a letter that never gets sent, are all obstacles that ultimately determine their romantic fate and and life that they may have led together when they were young. Each character experiences struggles, dysfunctional relationships, setbacks, and successes and eventually it is clear that life is passing them by because their true soul mate is not truly in their life.

"One Day" offers laughs, tears, and insight and encourages to not limit yourself and if you truly want something, don't hold back. If you're in love, go for it. Missed opportunities are hard to overcome. Don't let the years go by in vain.

Thanks David Nicholls for such a glorious, heartbreaking read.
Profile Image for Anna.
850 reviews25 followers
September 3, 2011
Every moment with this book felt like a waste of my time. I've seen it all before: the ugly duckling pining after the rich asshole who could be transformed into a better man if he only realized that the right woman was right there in front of him. This plot is so well trod that I feel like there are hundreds of better examples of it that I could have been reading. And here is the thing, I love these kinds of stories as the size of my romance shelf can attest. But I hated these characters so much that I couldn't root for them.

And as to the ending, can I just say that I didn't like it the first time it happened in City of Angles, and I still didn't like it when Nicholls ripped it off.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,504 reviews734 followers
December 12, 2021
National Book Awards Winner. Essentially a romantic comedy, but one with superb characterisations of the main protagonists. On the 15th July 1988, Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation in Edinburgh… the book then goes on to tell the state of their lives each and every 15 July for the next 20 years.

A charming life-affirming read that justly deserves the high critical acclaim it gained on publication. 8 out of 12.

2011 read
Profile Image for Trin.
1,721 reviews544 followers
June 30, 2010
Let's talk about death. Not death which is inevitably part of life, but death in fiction, where it is not inevitable at all. Death in fiction is a deliberate, well-thought out decision: the writer is God, and he or she is choosing, for whatever reason, to Strike This Character Down.

There are good fictional deaths, and ones which feel cheap. This book lost me for good because it contains a death that felt exactly like the hand of God reaching down: Oh, thought the writer-god, I don't really know how to end this but I know that an element of tragedy will make this novel seem super deep. Die, character, die! This did not seem like a senseless death of that type that in real life is imbued with honest tragedy. It felt like an author scrambling for a final act, and not being brave enough to let his characters simply face the rest of their lives together. To die might be a very great adventure, as Peter Pan says, but Peter Pan is an eternal child. Isn't this book supposed to be about growing up? Isn't the greatest adventure simply living?

But let's stay with youthful mistakes for a minute. You see, the thing is: I wrote this novel. I don't say this out of jealousy—“It should be me with this bestseller, me with a movie deal and Nick Hornby praising me on his blog!” No. Not that I wouldn't like all of those things one day—I totally would—but the novel I wrote, which shares a freakish number of similar elements with this one, sucked. I mean, it really stank. This novel, it must also be noted, is much, much better than mine was: the prose is an improvement over mine at the time (I was 20 or 21), and I'm pretty damn sure that this book is more realistic, and more consistently funny and emotionally engaging, than my juvenile effort. However, there are definite and bizarre similarities: both books are about a friendship between a man and a woman over a long stretch of time, beginning in the ’80s; both are about struggling to strike a balance between financial solvency and artistic integrity; both star a character named Em (really, it's eerie); and both feature a tragic bicycle accident. It's the tragic bicycle accident that really gets me. I saw the one in One Day coming from miles away, and approached it with increasing incredulity. Because I had done the tragic bicycle accident, in the shitty novel I wrote when I was 20, and it was dumb then and it is dumb now. It's the hand of the author coming down and going, “Look! Look! I AM GOING TO MAKE YOU CRY GODDAMMIT.”

Since none of you has read my novel (thank god), this comparison lacks something. So allow me to make another one. This involves yet another embarrassing confession: I really, really like the movie City of Angels. Yes, the one with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan: completely honestly, I do. I also love the movie it was based on, Wings of Desire. I remember at some point discussing our mutual appreciation for these two films with my mother. Which did we prefer? I know I hesitated, because as much as I love Wings of Desire, I also think it drags at certain points—that long, lengthy speech in the bar at the end! What's that about? City of Angels, though...

Here my mom stepped in, definitive. She liked Wings of Desire better, because of the crucial difference in the movies' endings. See, in Wings of Desire, the angel falls, finds the woman he loves, there is a pretentious speech in a bar, and then they just...go on living. That's the ending: they must face the consequences of living. In City of Angels, on the other hand, the angel falls, finds the woman he loves, and then the very next morning...she dies. IN A FREAKIN' TRAGIC BICYCLE ACCIDENT. Seriously, what gives? Are we all just a bunch of scarred Nico fans inside? Is this a public safety announcement of some kind? “Kids! Wear a helmet—or your death may facilitate the important, if sadly belated, epiphanies of your loved ones!”

No, but quite honestly, I think my mom was right that the bolder, braver ending can sometimes be the one that's not about GRAND TRAGEDY, but that's simply about the everyday struggle and joy of living. How is that not an equally valid story to tell? The fact that David Nicholls seemed to do everything in his power to ultimately avoid telling it really frustrated me. This novel definitely has its charm: it's snarky and English; its central device is clever; its depiction of feeling lost and aimless in your twenties seemed spot-on. But—in part because of its clever format—too many of this story's important moments happened off-stage, and the—one is led to believe—central event of its two protagonists finally, finally falling in love is downplayed horribly so that—dun dun dun—the tragic bicycle accident can occur several chapters later. I felt cheated and manipulated, frankly, having slogged through 300 pages of the male lead behaving like an utter ass while not a lot of other stuff happened—all that, for this? And sure, one could argue that that sense of disappointment is realistic to life. But I would counter that it doesn't make for very good fiction.

Neither does the fact that this book has more endings padding out its already hefty page count than The Return of the King. You'd already lost me with the tragic bicycle accident, dude, can we just wrap this up already? Your internet profile was enthralling, but on a one-to-one level it just isn't working. Let's split the check and go our separate ways. Maybe in ten years' time I'll look back on this and laugh; in twenty I'll have forgotten your name.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Buggy.
483 reviews676 followers
September 29, 2011
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?”
Profile Image for Katie ♡.
214 reviews69 followers
March 3, 2017
Well well well... 3,7/5 stars for me...

If I get to tell you my feelings about this book in one single word, it would be "FINALLY!"

To be honest, having watched the movie, this book did not surprise me at all and all I can say about this one is how true to life and down-to-earth it is. The characters are alright, however, I personally "slightly" hate the leading male character Dexter who is, needlessly to say, arrogant, cocky and (ahem!) a pain in da ARSE! There I said it!

Seriously this takes me WAY too long to finish as you can probably see, and there are several times when I have to fight against my will not to leave this one in the DNF section ( how cruel and guilty I shall feel for having done such a thing to a book! )

Overall, I would recommend this to people who would love to spare quite some of their times for such a novel, and WARNING: Do not watch the movie before you read it, totally ruins the hype!! You've been warned mate :P
Profile Image for Rosanne.
477 reviews23 followers
August 14, 2010
A hilarious and realistic love story. Excellent characterizations, Nicholls captures life's ups and downs so well and tells Emma and Dexter's stories through snapshots on one day over the course of twenty years.

If you are a HEA junky like me, you might want to be aware that this is not a traditional happy ending at all, but in a way it is even better because the story continues beyond the HEA, it is real, honest and bittersweet.

I don't necessarily think this is a story everyone will enjoy, it is not really a romance, it is a truthful love story with all that it implies. Dark and gritty at times as well.
Profile Image for Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page).
465 reviews222 followers
July 25, 2011
This book is completely overhyped. It is so dull. It's not exactly boring, but it's certainly not exciting. In my opinion, dull is the perfect adjective to describe 'One Day'. I was expecting something mindblowingly heart-wrenching from all of the praise I've seen for this book, but it was quite a disappointment. The book was well written and the premise was fantastic but it just didn't work for me - the whole thing just felt so drawn out and I didn't feel much for either Emma or Dexter - especially Dexter. The whole 'twist' just felt quite ridiculous. After ploughing through most of the book and to be given that ending didn't make me sad, just quite infuriated. I thought that the imperfect ending was the right way for the book to go, but not in this way. The book did show a realistic evolution of a relationship throughout twenty years, but this 'observation' of the couples lives unfortunately didn't really do anything for me.
Profile Image for EZRead eBookstore.
168 reviews66 followers
August 12, 2011
Romances that bring friends together should show some reason why the two people like each other. Right? That seems to be the tactic that works for other stories.

As complete opposites, you’d think Dexter and Emma were turned on by these differing facts. But, the characters actually seem annoyed by most of what makes them dissimilar. In short, there is nothing to explain why they would actually care about each other. And, there’s no reason for me to care about them either, for that matter.

Dexter is a sleazy pig of a jerk, who is also an alcoholic and a druggy. Emma is bad-tempered and critical– she snaps and complains about people, yet she secretly seems to admire Dexter for the things she can’t stand about him: spontaneity and bravery. I’m supposed to be watching their friendship slowly turn into something more, but the trouble is that I cannot even understand why they’re friends to begin with. They are merely a one-night stand gone completely wrong.

It seems the only reason they hang around each other is to keep the sexual tension alive, which is really the only thing that they have – attraction. If the years that pass are supposed to show how the two grow closer together, why don’t either show much evolution in their characters? The only time either one has an insightful thought about themselves or their relationship is when they are drunk. How insightful can those thoughts really be if the two supposed friends bicker and criticize one another more than anything?

To make matters worse, the end does not give anything to satisfy my unanswered questions and confusion about the relationship of Dexter and Emma. Sadly, I wished the story had ended 200 pages in, or less, which meant I was less than half way before I wanted to tear the rest of the pages out of this never-ending unromantic story.

-EZ Read Staffer Amelia

watch the video discussion: http://vimeo.com/27598967
Profile Image for Heather.
282 reviews13.9k followers
August 31, 2011
Every now and then you read a book that sticks with you. It may have a serious tone, or in the case of One Day, no particular tone at all. I’m exceedingly glad that I withheld from reading reviews of this novel until after I was three fourths of the way through, as I’m not sure my experience with these characters, these words, would have been the same. It was bad enough to have been bombarded with blurb after blurb hailing this book as a comedy, others as a romance. I’m of the opinion that it is neither. One Day is what life reads like.

*Spoilers Ahead*

I’m sure you all know the premise, if not, watch the movie trailer, it will spell it out quite clearly. Guy (Dexter) and girl (Emma) meet, have a brief hookup, and settle into a loaded friendship until finally, after nearly fifteen years of angst, they become lovers. It’s rather touching really, but what enchanted me most wasn’t the eventual coming together of these two disastrous fools, but rather the hot messes that these two characters are as individuals. What misfortunes they suffer! And what success! Thus is the beauty of this book.

Neither Dexter nor Emma are particularly likeable, but they love each other. Why, I do not know. Frankly, it was only when Dexter was in Emma’s presence that I could even moderately stand him, but again, I thought that was rather brilliant characterization on the author’s part. Haven’t we all met a shithead, or two, and thought to ourselves “I can’t stand this mofo, I bet he doesn’t have a single friend to his name”? Nicholls shows us, that not only do such shitheads have friends, they have a mother and father, and even a brilliant woman who loves them. They might even have good, shine worthy moments whilst in those individuals presence. Who’d have thunk it?

And Emma, what can I say about Emma? For most of the book she is a walking, talking catastrophe. Pinning after a man who isn’t worthy of her, lost and directionless. Filled with dreams and utterly clueless as to how to make them a reality. But she endeared herself to me with her fiery passion, intellect (except in matters of the heart), indecision and lack of self confidence. Why? Because I’ve been her. I think we all have. Most of us suffer through a quarter life crisis, otherwise, the coin never would have been phrased. And I’m certain most of us struggle with when to settle for our lot, and content ourselves with our fortune and when to press on and reach for our dreams, hopes and wants.

In seeing the disasters that are Emma and Dex, I was reminded that the beauty in life is best shown by living it. Adversity only magnifies accomplishment. And while we all surely have a fate, our choices very much determine the course of a life. One Day was a touching book, filled with relevant detail and rather lovely, readable writing. I’ll certainly read it again.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
668 reviews45 followers
July 3, 2010
There will be spoilers...

I am no longer speaking to this book it has seriously pissed me off. It is imperialist unamerican and majorly depressing. I have done you a favor Mr Nicholls and decided not to kill myself lest it reflect poorly on your book, but you made me want to repeatedly. And yes I understand you are british and that there is something fundamentally wrong with british people that makes you uncomfortable with anyone have a remotely good day in a novel, but seriously. Honestly David I am a bit worried about you and I think it maybe a good idea for you to go see a therapist you seem intensely depressed to me and you don't want to go ending up like B.S. Johnson now do you?

Right so now that I am done ranting about cultural differences on to ranting about the book. This book basically has the plot of an american romantic comedy. Nicholls even knows this and periodically remarks on it (comparing the main characters to Harry and Sally for example). Unlike an American story it's well depressing and not a little bit, all the time. I know it is hard to imagine but this is a book about two people who are basically depressed constantly, okay I lie once Emma is happy and maybe twice Dexter is happy in a course of 20 years, and it is never super happy, just eh okay happy. They are constantly in relationships they hate with people that hate them or generally terrible at whatever they are attempting to do at that moment. Seriously this is why I am getting up in the morning so that I can be miserable once again?

This book seems to me to have two options for trajectories:
The American: They get together and everyone lives happily ever after.
The british: they stay friends but they never seem to slow down long enough to get together.

The second option feels like the direction the book is going for a full 3 hundred pages. Dexter even at one point says something along these lines to Emma. And to be completely honest I was okay with that. I understand the idea that some people just can't slow down enough to make a relationship work. I understand that regardless of how much Emma and Dexter love each other, which is evident in the book, that sometimes things just don't manage to fall into place. This doesn't mean that they don't love each other enough or that there is something wrong with them, it simply means that circumstances are simply unable to create a world in which people like Emma and Dexter end up together. Perhaps they care to much, perhaps in the end we all settle. With passion comes disease and argument, and a relationship of love can never be quite as perfect as a relationship of compromise. Of Dexter marrying someone else and agreeing to become a just good enough husband, of Emma settling for a man who loves her whom she can't manage to change quite enough to love him back. This is where I thought the book was going to go. Perhaps the book still ends up here in a terribly horrendous way but first...

The book goes american on us. They manage to get together, and just in time, whew almost missed that whole biological clock thing, and yes circumstances could be better. I mean that idiot Dexter has a kid that truly belongs to someone else and he has been a loser and a drunk for the better part of 40 years, but at least it finally happens. And Emma fixes him. Yay for an american happy ending.

But wait on their two year anniversary "Emma Morley dies" and I am not kidding that is the amount of play it gets in the book. She thinks she is going to be late meeting dexter to look at a house and she dies. This is where the book and I began our grudge map. I did not wait 350 pages for something good to finally happen so that people could suddenly get killed off. And Dexter becomes a bad person again, but he gets over it and is friends with his ex wife again and dating the manager of his shop, um can you say incest? Serious at least date someone who your wife wasn't making jokes about you cheating on her with.

So seriously David I am worried about you if these are your introjects of the world, please email me I will help you find a good therapist.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for KarenH.
189 reviews172 followers
August 14, 2011
I finished this book 3 days ago and I'm just now coming out of the stupor that I've been wandering around in since. One Day isn't a book with many gray areas...readers will absolutely love the story or they will hate it. I happen to be one of the former...so much so that I have spent all of my free time in the last 3 days hunting down pictures, articles, interviews, etc, related to the book and the movie adapted from it (opens nationwide August 19th). Since the author of One Day, David Nicholls, also wrote the script for the movie, I have no doubt that this is going to be that rare exception where the movie will be as good or better than the book. The actors they have cast to play the lead protagonists are a perfect fit. In fact, Anne Hathaway loved the book so much, she flew to London to convince the director why she was perfect to play the part of Emma.

The story centers on the lives of two people, Emma Morley & Dexter Mayhew, who meet the night of their college graduation on July 15, 1988. The one-night-stand they attempt to engage in doesn't pan out; instead, they opt for being friends. Little do they know, this "off-the-cuff" friendship they've settled for will cultivate and grow - encompassing Dex, Em and all of the book's readers. Thus, July 15, 1988 marks the day that changes their lives forever. For each year thereafter, the story stops on that same day to check in with Dex and Em.

One Day is a character study like no other. I don't think I've ever read a book where I have known the H/h as intimately as I do Dex and Em. Their hopes and fears, successes and failures - as well as the steadfast bond between them - is all absorbed by the reader. Whether you enjoyed the book or not, I'd wager very few could deny the amazing chemistry between Dex & Em, as well as how thoroughly exposed & vulnerable their feelings become as the years go by. You will laugh a little at them and cry a lot with them. In fact, there comes a point in the story where the laughter will cease but not the tears...definitely not the tears. Even for those of us that normally don't cry at the drop of a pin...you might surprise yourself here. Forewarned is forearmed...have the box of tissue handy!

I am not going to elaborate on the storyline because it isn't one to tell; rather, it is a story readers should experience for themselves. Although it is a fictionalized account, there are situations in One Day that might hit home as being very personal to you. Friendship and love... does one lead to the other or should heading in that direction be avoided? Can they exist synonymously...running deep and true and eternal? Is there one specific day that changed your life forever?

The only genre I read is romance and IMO One Day is a 10-star contribution. However, if you require your romance to be all wrapped up in shiny paper with a big bow on top (like I usually do), I would recommend that you do not read this book. But for those of you who are willing to step outside of the box, you will get an extraordinary, emotionally-gripping, "laughter despite the tears" powerhouse of a novel in return. The cover of the book says it all!

March 25, 2017

Read a book with a number in the title.

This is by far the easiest 5 stars I've given out this year.

(forget the fact that it is only the second 5 stars I've given out this year.)

(also forget the fact that I'm writing this review the day before I finish Dark Matter which will most likely be its biggest contender)

And btw, fuck this book.
Maybe it's just bad timing for whatever, but I think you should head of to China or India or wherever and find yourself, and I'll get on quite happily with things here. I don't want to come with you, I don't want weekly postcards, I don't even want your phone number. I don't want to get married and have your babies either, or even have another fling. We had one really really nice night together, that's all. I'll always remember it. And if we bump into each other sometime in the future at a party or something, then that's fine too. We'll just have a friendly chat. We won't be embarrassed 'cause you've had your hand down my top and there'll be no awkwardness and we'll be, whatever 'cool' about it, alright? Me and you. We'll just be....friends. Agreed?

This is going to be one of those personal reviews. Just so you're warned. If you don't like it, look away now. Spoiler tagging for those not interested.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
January 25, 2018
One Day, David Nicholls
Each chapter covers the lives of two protagonists on 15 July, St. Swithin's Day, for twenty years.
عنوان فیلم: یک روز؛ کارگردان: لون اسچرفینگ؛ تهیه‌ کننده: نینا ژاکوبسن؛ نویسنده: دیوید نیکولز؛ بازیگران: جیم استرجس؛ آن هاتاوی؛ موسیقی: ریچل پورتمن؛ تدوین: بارنی پیلینگ؛ تاریخ‌های انتشار: 19 آگوسست 2011؛ مدت زمان: 108 دقیقه؛ کشور: انگلستان؛ زبان: انگلیسی؛ هزینه فیلم 15000000 دلار
پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1988 میلادی چند دانشجو پس از فارغ‌ التحصیلی به لندن برگشته‌ اند و پس از خداحافظی از همدیگر دو تن از دانشجوها: ( اما و دکس ) با هم به خانه‌ ی «اما» می‌روند. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1989 میلادی «اما» به یک خانه‌ ی جدید می‌رود. و نویسندگی را شروع می‌کند. و «دکس» برای تدریس به هند می‌رود. پانزهم ژوئیه سال 1990 میلادی «اما» در یک رستوران به عنوان گارسون کار و با همکار جدیدش ایان آشنا می‌شود. و ... پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1991 میلادی دکس برای دیدن «اما» به رستورانی که «اما» در آنجا کار می‌کند می‌رود تا او را ببیند. و به «اما» پیشنهاد مسافرت می‌دهد. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1992 میلادی دکس و «اما» به مسافرت می‌روند و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1993 میلادی دکس مجری یک برنامه تلویزیونی می‌شود و به شهرت می‌رسد. ولی از «اما» دور می‌شود. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1994 میلادی دکس به دیدار مادرش که مبتلا به بیماری سرطان شده می‌رود. و چندتا از برنامه‌ های ضبط شده‌ ی خود را به مادرش نشان می‌دهد. ولی پدرش او را از خانه بیرون می‌اندازد. و «اما» هم برای زندگی به خانه‌ ی ایان می‌رود. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1995 میلادی مادر دکس می‌میرد و پدرش به استودیو می‌آید و دوست دختر دکس را می‌بیند. و «اما» معلم می‌شود. و ... پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1996 میلادی «اما» با ایان نامزد می‌شوند . و دکس «اما» را به رستورانی با کلاس دعوت می‌کند. و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1997 میلادی هیچ اتفاقی نمی‌افتد. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1998 میلادی دکس شهرتش را از دست می‌دهد و مجری یک برنامه معرفی بازی‌های کامپیوتری می‌شود و از کار تلویزیون کناره گیری می‌کند. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1999 میلادی دکس بخاطر تنهایی اش تصمیم برای ازدواج می‌گیرد و با سیلوی نامزد می‌شود. و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2000 میلادی دکس و همسرش به عروسی یکی از همکلاسیهای دانشگاهی اش می‌رود. و د�� آنجا «اما» را می‌بیند . و ...؛؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2001 میلادی دکس با دوستش یک شرکت بسته بندی سبزیجات تاسیس می‌کنند. سیلوی بچه دار می‌شود. و سیلوی به دکس خیانت می‌کند.؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2002 میلادی دکس از سیلوی جدا می‌شود و افسردگی میگیرد. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2003 میلادی دکس برای دیدن «اما» به پاریس می‌رود. و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2004 میلادی دکس با «اما» ازدواج می‌کند. و ... پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2005 میلادی «اما» نمی‌تواند بچه دار شود. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2006 میلادی «اما» هنگام برگشتن از استخر و رفتن پیش دکس با کامیون تصادف می‌کند و می‌میرد. و دکس افسردگی حاد می‌گیرد. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2007 میلادی دکس از افسرده و سرگردان است. و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2008 میلادی هیچ اتفاقی نمی‌افتد. پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2009 میلادی دکس در کافی شاپ خود ایان را می‌بیند. که ازدواج کرده و خانواده دار شده است. دکس ناگهان از خواب بیدار می‌شود و می‌بیند شانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1989 میلادی است. و ...؛ پانزدهم ژوئیه سال 2011 میلادی دکس با دخترش به جایی می‌رود که شانزدهم ژوئیه سال 1989 میلادی با اما رفته بود. ا. شربیانی
40 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2011
Yuck! What self-indulgent muck! I decided to read this book after having read extremely positive reviews in the British press, and upon finding out that a movie based on the book will be released imminently.

About 100 pages in, I was already hating it, and now, finally finishing it, I am convinced those raving reviews must have been written by people who hardly ever read books.

The book is cheesy and corny, predictable as a storm on a cloudy day, with characters who unfortunately display very little deep or profound development as the book progresses. It's chick-lit written by a man.

I feel that the author's use of a certain trite plot device, which may have been intended to shock and awe the reader, only made me feel really angry about having laboured to get so far into the book. I don't want to spoil the plot for those who still intend to read the book, but I am compelled to advise you to brace yourself for a cop-out.

Probably for the first time in my life, I am honestly hoping that the movie will out-perform the book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,332 reviews106 followers
August 17, 2020
Em and Dex, Dex and Em. Two people that we catch up with every year on exactly the same day. This is the second time i've read this book and I’m sobbing, totally and utterly sobbing. If a book can do that to you twice then it’s a really good book and this is why its now a favourite of all time.

I can't imagine watching the film for this but maybe, one day
Profile Image for E.
379 reviews82 followers
June 22, 2012
I feel as though I just went on a wonderful date with this book, but now I'm trying to justify to my friends, myself and the book why this isn't true love. Or at least true literature.

Like most page-turners, the dialogue is snappy, the ruminations are written like people talk, and the story is mostly plot-driven in a sea of Omigodwhathappensnext adrenaline. (And that scene where the new boyfriend nervously plays a game with the girlfriend's family only to play too hard and have everyone glaring at him? IT'S BEEN DONE.) But so much of it was just so charismatic, so unforgivingly honest, that I often found myself putting it down in order to soak it all up. And I kept having arguments with myself as to whether or not I was really in love with real Literature.

Before I come off as any more of a snob, let me state my standards. Literature sets itself apart from genre fiction because it doesn't rely on formulas. A story avoids formulas by having a) complex, realistic characters, b) a creative writing style, c) an overarching theme about the human condition. So, does One Day have what it takes to keep itself out of the Romantic Comedy genre section?

A) Emma and Dexter are carefully crafted characters whose brilliant inner monologues could never translate to well film. Unlike so many modern authors, Nicholls understands Her as well as he understands Him, assigning them both self-destructive tendencies and a profound capacity for love. That they are constantly pointing out each other's flaws and constantly making each other laugh makes theirs one of the few literary relationships based not on passionate romance but passionate respect. (And respect is freakin' romantic.) Unfortunately, most of the supporting characters are stereotypes used mainly to tilt the reader's sympathy back to the main two. Whatever selfish mistakes Emma and Dexter make, Suki is just too ditzy, Ian is just too inept, Sylvie is just too cold, and Mr. Godalming is just too nondescript for the reader to ever risk siding with them. A few points lost there, but stereotypes can also be used to reflect the society in which the main characters are trying to survive (see American Beauty or White Teeth for more of that) and Nicholls does sometimes pull this off quite well.

B) An accessible style need not be shallow. Nicholls's descriptions never risk distracting you from the plot, but they decorate it very well. ("She looked up at the ceiling as if she were giving someone the chance to hide.") The story's structure, jumping one year ahead with each chapter, is clever and tantalizing, warning the reader that no scenes will be guaranteed. And, like the main characters, Nicholls can be very, very witty, when he wants to be. ("In a war film, Ian would be little Tommy writing home to his mother. Dexter would be, well, an effete Nazi.")


C) The theme is perhaps the weakest part. Crazy stupid love and the difficulty of growing up aren't the most challenging topics ever put to paper, and the speed at which this story was turned into a screenplay at least whispers "standard fare." But it's no surprise the film did badly because Emma and Dexter are NOT just two cuties who riff until it's time for the Cinderella ending. They're friends first and foremost, and, as the NY Times observed earlier this year, pop culture doesn't have many stories about friendship. It doesn't really know what do with it. Nicholls does.

He's written that he feels ambivalent about leaving Dexter and Emma childless, but this was one of my favorite aspects of the plot because it serves as a testament to the strength of their friendship. They don't need a biological symbol of their loyalty to one another in order to justify it.

He loses a few points for talking so much about sex without proving he can write a sexy line describing the act. (FYI, "flesh" is not a very sexy word.) But their sexy friendship is portrayed in such a rainbow of delicate details that anyone who's had a crush on a close friend will relate to at least a colorful handful of them. And nothing epitomizes Nicolls's commitment to portraying all that is cruel and banal and frustrating in life than the fact that he spends no more time on their marriage than he does on Dexter's bereavement. As Roger Ebert has pointed out, every love story ends in death, and unlike so many pop culture storytellers, Nicholls is brave to let us see how Dexter struggles with that, skipping the melodramatic moment of discovery and going straight to the hell of healing.

Whether or not it's Literature, I am pleased as hell when there are books like this in the world. Like a fun date, there were points when I wished it could have been better, but I never wanted it to end.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,114 reviews1,976 followers
March 22, 2020
Just a little bit disappointed because I enjoyed Us so very much and I expected this one to be good as well. It was okay but it never really pulled me in. I had considerable difficulty with how unlikeable both main characters were and I was totally unable to understand why they should like let alone love each other. On the other hand the story was good and the idea of writing about one particular day each year gave the book great structure. The ending was unexpected and confronting but then there was probably no other way the author could have gone. Overall there was nothing really wrong with this book - I was just expecting a whole lot more.
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews770 followers
March 23, 2016
I kind of hate this book. I can only reason that I picked it up because I felt lonely and hormonal and thought that maybe I could pass the time with a cute little chick lit book... maybe on the lines of The Time Traveler's Wife, which I can also, reasonably, (though I am not always that) can see as being a hokey book. But--- this... no, I can't let it go. Yes... I was menstruating and I'm sorry if that's TMI... it plays an important role in my reviewing of this book because I could be biased or maybe even, like, wrong. But.. no... I don't think so.

First off. This book isn't ONE day. Ok, yes... it's one CALENDAR DAY. July 15th, I think, which is like Groundhog's day for England. Except that they don't have a Punxsutawney Phil, they have some Saint Swithin who was famous for building churches and being charitable. Damn Brits and their high falutin' holidays. So... the legend goes if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it will rain for the next 40 days and if it's sunny on St. Swithin's day... well, you get it. There may be some sort of subtle play going on here but I couldn't really put it together or didn't really care enough to (yeah yeah yeah 'one day-we'll be together' barf.) Anyway, this is actually like TWENTY TWO days... or maybe 23... I lost count or didn't do the math. And it's spread over 40 something years... so you meet Emma and Dexter on night of their graduation from University where they spend a drunken night half dressed in bed sort of talking sort of not, sort of 'snogging' sort of not. They don't really seem like they'd get along, so I assume it was a random sort of pickup.

Emma is described as one of those pseudo political, Nelson Mendela loving, earthnik frumpy gals. At least that's what I get out of it via Dexter's description, who is kind of dumb and cute and likes to fornicate alot. Now, I hear there is a movie about this, and this is who they chose to play Emma. Um... Okay... sure... she's also been described as 'the spectacled girl with the 'fringe cut' and having 'pup fat' and a 'Rachel' haircut. Sure... this is... um... this is bullshit. Anne Hathaway is fucking gorgeous. Yeah, they say that Emma is pretty in the book and all that but you're led to believe that she's more frumpy and is pining after cute Dex and all that. Well, IMHO, anyway.

Now Dexter, 'Dex', the playboy with a trust fund. (yeah... this works for me... I won't rant about casting on him...) The guy who 'goes with the flow' is so stereotypical. I mean, I guess they try to make him have a soul and all that, but he's a drunk who likes pretty girls and worries about what people think of him. Why would Emma like that if she's so 'deep'? Are all frumpy girls pining for their cute boys-as-friends? I can let you know, from personal experience, NO. We're wondering why our friends who happen to be cute can be so dumb. Dexter is like the Ryan Seacrest of England. Ewww. Yet, each year, on St. Smithin's/Swithin's day, we see Emma thinking about Dex and Dex wishing Em could pull him out of his superficial spotlight... and we see how their 'friendship' grows... how one is working at a texmex restaurant while the other is 'largin' it' on reality TV or how one is writing a book while the other is introducing extreme sports to insomniacs and we're supposed to see the tragedy of these two never connecting or missing their chance or whatever.

Insert Vomiting Unicorn Photo Here.

The writing isn't even that good to pull you in. You see the formula. You know what's going to happen next. Christ. How can people put this shit out? And even worse, how can he say that he uses Thomas Hardy as an influence? HUH? Don't even... And then... then... we get a blurb from Nick Hornby saying "A big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable on-off love story." I wonder how drunk he was when he wrote that. Seriously.

Yes, I admit that I loved When Harry Met Sally. I am a girl after all, or was... I don't know if it's still PC to say that. But, I did grow up and did get married and did get smart and all that and I can't really condone this. I just can't.

Thing is... the thing that I REALLY hate about this book is that it--- it did it---- it made me cry. I'm so fucking mad at myself (and this book) I didn't want to get sucked in. I didn't even really like these people. I will blame the menstruation. Because as much as a cliche as that is. It is the god honest truth. Still, I sobbed like a girly girl. PFFFT.
Profile Image for Theresa.
225 reviews136 followers
March 26, 2017
A beautiful and unconventional love story. I loved Emma. I thought she was funny, intelligent, feisty, and down-to-earth. Took me a while to warm up to Dexter, (he's not a nice guy at first) but when he grew-up emotionally, I found him charming and extremely loyal. This book will make you laugh, cry, and believe that true love is possible. Enjoy! :)
Profile Image for Mith.
283 reviews979 followers
August 6, 2011
And I give up.

Twenty pages in and I was already regretting my choice of picking this book up. Now, after one hundred whole pages of this trash, I can't take it anymore.

How do I begin to explain this atrocity? One Day recounts the story of Emma and Dexter in a never-before-seen format - each chapter is the just the one day - July 15th - of each year of their lives. This could have had so much potential but the execution is just...agonizingly painful.

Now, Emma is a whiny, bitchy, insecure hipster who would much rather wear glasses than contacts, loves to feel sorry for herself WHEN THERE'S NO NEED TO and does NOTHING to fix her mess of a life, reads Dostovyesky and the like, shoves her taste for GOOD LITERATURE down Dexter's throat and, basically, cannot be happy unless she's fighting for a CAUSE.

Dexter, on the other hand, is a whiny, douchey, insecure nymphomaniac who is loaded with cash and no idea what to do with it, likes being made to constantly feel that he's AWESOME, has no clue about what he wants in life - all he wants is job which he can "brag about in a bar" and doesn't involve hard work - and, basically, cannot be happy unless he has a woman in his bed with him.

The biggest mystery in the pages I read, is HOW in the world these two fell for each other! The first time we meet them, they are strangers who just hooked up after running into each other at a party. Already Dex is thinking of leaving as soon as Em falls asleep, while she, on the other hand, is wondering to herself is he's THE ONE. A year after that, Dex is out travelling the world and sleeping with random women, while Em is working in D-grade plays wondering where her life is heading (No idea why she cant get herself a real job even though, as we are constantly reminded, she has a DOUBLE DEGREE). They are still in touch and have "feelings for each other" (when did that happen?)

A year after that, Dex is in Greece and STILL sleeping with random women, while Em has moved on from her dreams of becoming a playwright and now works in a greasy, run-down Mexican restaurant (why and how did she get here?) in the middle of nowhere - still no sign of a REAL JOB. A year after that, Dex is in India and trying to become a professional photographer while Em is STILL WORKING AT THAT DAMN RESTAURANT even though she hates it there (why she just doesn't pack up her bags and leave, is never made clear). A YEAR AFTER THAT, Dex is in the same town as Em, working as a TV presenter (apparently "he realized photography was not for him, and besides, "I'm a TV presenter" sounded more impressive"), flaunting women in front of the love-lorn Em, who, by the way? Mexican Restaurant.

You see? It's utterly maddening! Since each chapter is a year apart, lots of the "in between" details are missed out which is why it feels like there is absolutely no connection between the chapters. Though, the author tries hard to bridge the gap. Too hard.

Sample this example - In one chapter, we are introduced to Ian, Em's new coworker, who asks her out but she declines as she is not interested and the chapter ends abruptly after that. In the beginning of the next chapter, the author reminds us - Hey! The two chapters are connected! It's the continuation of the same story! My story IS progressing but I'm not going to explain any of it to you. No, really! I'll prove it to you by not at all understating it and hitting you on the head with it! Look, look! -- "The other staff scoffed. 'Why is it always me?' moaned Ian. 'Because you do it so beautifully,' said his best friend Emma"

Subtle, Mr.Nicholls, very subtle.

Moaning and groaning, I forced myself to read on - much like how Harry forces Dumbledore to drink the potion in the Cave - and after, about a hundred pages, when they are at a nudist beach by accident and Dex is trying to convince Em to take her clothes off while she's saying no (this goes on for a bit), I read this -

She leant forward, put her hand on his wrist. 'I think we should tell each other something that the other person doesn‘t know.'
'What, like a secret?'
'Exactly, a secret, something surprising, one a night every night for the rest of the holiday.'
'Okay. You first.'
'No, you first.'
'Why me first?'
'You've got more to choose from.'
And it was true, he had an almost bottomless supply of secrets. He could tell her that he‘d watched her getting dressed that night, or that he‘d left the bathroom door open on purpose when he showered. He could tell her that he‘d smoked heroin with Naomi, or that just before Christmas he‘d had fast, unhappy sex with Emma‘s flatmate Tilly Killick; a foot massage that had spun horribly out of control while Emma was at Woolworths buying fairy lights for the tree. But perhaps it would be better to go for something that didn‘t reveal him as shallow or seedy, duplicitous or conceited.
He thought for some time.
'Okay, here goes.' He cleared his throat. 'A couple of weeks ago at this club, I got off with this guy.'

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is when I stopped reading, because my brain exploded.
Profile Image for Rhi.
357 reviews137 followers
August 21, 2011
I thought the premise of this book was brilliant. Following two friends, a boy and girl, who had a romantic encounter of sorts on their final graduation day, and seeing a glimpse into their lives every year on the same day after.
I loved the detailed pop culture references, that maybe you can only truly appreciate had you grown up in London, and that made me yearn for my home town more than usual.

That is where my like for this book ended. Because in general I thought it was quite monotonous, it dragged in places, there was unnecessary exposition and dialogue, I personally felt all the characters were unlikeable (bar Dexter's mother) and terrible stereotypical creations; last but definitely not least, there was a ridiculously pointless death.
A death, may I add, that was the second most interesting character, (I guess... at a push.) But aparently Nicholls doesn't like to allow his female protagonists to live. No. He likes to strike them down in the prime of life, like a sadistic god who has nothing better to do with his plot and character development.

But really, rather than rant for longer than this, because I am tired, and bored, and hot and have run out of ice lollies so am also a little cranky, and already feel like I wasted too much time on this book, and and and... I direct you here , to this brilliant review. Because it says it all and more.
Other than the City of Angels love. That's just a little weird.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for GTF.
76 reviews93 followers
May 20, 2020
'One Day' is an interesting, melancholy romance novel from David Nicholls, that follows the lives of two tentative love birds: Emma and Dexter.

The pacing of the novel is well done, as the yearly gaps in between chapters portray love and romance from a long-term perspective. The story is characterized by the highs and lows, and the struggles and triumphs that people experience throughout the course of their lives. The story is poignant in every sense, and the underlying messages of the book are; achieving happiness and success in life is difficult, and that nothing can be taken for granted in a world where bad luck is possible for anyone.

While the novel is not perfect, it is very good, and it is a much better read than Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' which has a very similar premise.
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
509 reviews93 followers
January 28, 2020
A surprisingly unkitschy romance novel that I (a woman who wouldn't want to touch a romance novel with a bargepole) would like to recommend.

I liked particularly how real the story and the characters felt to me. I was not so happy with the two twists in the end, especially the very last, harsh one, but altogether I enjoyed this novel very much.
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