Karo’s #CBR4 Review #13: One Day by David Nicholls
I wanted to hate this book. It seemed to be one of those things that make me want to scream and run away – the whole unlikely romancey scenario of two people writing stupid letters to each other on the same day every year, going on about how they have changed and seen the errors of their ways, before unsurprisingly hooking up in the end. Well, what do you know. When I eventually did read it, and I only did so because I had already read everything else my mum had lying around, it turned out that it wasn’t all that unlikely or schmaltzy. Emma and Dexter don’t actually purposefully write letters to each other every July 15th! The story rather zooms in on whatever they are doing each year. That makes the book altogether more bearable, but I still didn’t like it much.
One Day tells the story of how Emma and Dexter hook up on graduation night and then stay in touch over the next 20 years although their lives continue in completely different directions. It’s humourous, well paced and not too heavy on the clever markers that scream “Looklooklook! Isn’t this just soooo 80s?!”. It’s not too schmaltzy, because the end is a bit of a downer. BUT. As with Starter For Ten, I just couldn’t bring myself to care for either of the characters. As far as I could tell, Dexter was an idiot who had nothing going for him apart from his hotness, and Emma made her life unneccessarily hard and devoid of joy. The only proof we have for the fact that those two are meant for each other are their own words, and even those are a bit unconvincing. I found both of them a bit meh and didn’t feel any chemistry between them, which makes it hard to care about the story. I’m not saying it’s a bad story (although I could see the final twist from miles away), I just didn’t like it. The only exception are the last few pages. Those I loved, strangely enough.