I first heard - or read - about this novel from other book blogs and since the majority of the reviews seemed to be full of positive adjectives in superlative forms, I figured that the book just couldn't be a bad one. I bought an English paperback from a bookstore, because someone - I forget who - mentioned that this was worth reading in the original language instead of as a translation. I'm glad I did read it in English, because the novel itself is so very, very, very English. In a good way, I might add. :)
Even if you've never watched Cold Feet (like me) and don't know that David Nicholls writes screenplays and scripts for TV and film, it becomes pretty obvious in the very first pages of the novel that this guy knows what he's doing when he's writing dialogue. You can almost hear the characters speaking inside your head (and hopefully this does not mean that you've gone crazy). You can practically hear their English accents, the way they say "S'alright, I suppose" and "Thirty quid this cost me" and "Bloody 'ell" - these are just some random examples for the first few pages. Oh, I miss those accents, maybe it's just me, I should visit England again or see more English films and TV shows. :)
As I mentioned earlier, I took this book along on my honeymoon. It turned out to be both a great choice and a terrible mistake. Great - because it was the perfect book to get addicted to and keep me content and occupied whilst sitting on uncomfortable airport chairs, or trying not to get annoyed at the obsessive-peanut-crunching-man sitting next to me on the airplane, or relaxing on a hotel balcony, listening to the waves (at what was, coincidentally, a Greek island - much like the one Em and Dex visit near the beginning of the novel!). But choosing this book was a terrible mistake as well - because only pathetically unromantic people would rather spend their honeymoon evenings reading while their partners are trying to get them to go on a walk along a moonlit beach. Right? :)
Well, luckily I married an understanding person who was actually more than happy to read the book after me and enjoyed it too, despite it being "too predictable at the end". Personally, I liked the naïve Em and Dex in the beginning of the novel the most. The story lost some of its intensity somewhere in the middle of the novel, when Emma started to sound a bit too dull and ordinary, and Dexter was just plain irritating, but the pace picked up again near the end.
I can see why so many people like this book, and I can understand why it has become a best-seller. Emma and Dexter are both likeable, relatable and very real, although their relationship isn't always totally realistic or believable (why on earth would someone as sensible as Emma keep in touch with someone like Dex when he's doing that horrible TV-presenter/king-of-the-world/everyone-else-is-an-ignorant-idiot act near the middle of the book?!).
Anyway, to sum up this review that isn't really a proper review, just me rambling on... I highly recommend this book. Read it. Immediately. Or read it over the Christmas holidays when you have nothing to do and you're feeling a bit disappointed, because you didn't get the books you wanted for Christmas. This'll cheer you up. :)
David Nicholls: One Day. Hodder & Stoughton. 2011. 437 pages.
NY Times: "The Love Not Taken"
The Telegraph: "David Nicholls' One Day: Seize the book of the moment
The Guardian: "Days of our Lives"