Tag Archives: one day

effcubed’s CBR-III #11 One Day by David Nicholls

Dex and Em. Em and Dex.

Dexter and Emma have a sort of one night stand on the night of their university graduation. They met a few years before but until this night, St. Swithin’s Day, July 15th 1998, they haven’t really connected. They talk for hours, go on a hike the morning after, but don’t actually sleep together or actually date after that. Dex is about to travel around the world for a year or two and Em isn’t sure what she’s going to do with her double first in English and History, but she is going to change the world, that’s for sure.

The way I understood the premise before starting the book was that Dexter and Emma only meet on this one day each year, which seems like a strange basis for a relationship. However, that’s not true. They become close friends, the kind that never got together romantically, but make you wonder why not. We see them through Emma’s abysmal early career attempts with a theatre collective and a terrible Mexican restaurant. We follow Dex as he travels around the world and ends up presenting terrible late night television. We see their other relationships, love and otherwise. Some years they are together on St. Swithin’s Day, sometimes they couldn’t be further apart emotionally and physically.

The point of fiction is to give the reader an experience, to put them in the shoes or see through the lens of someone else. Because of that, it’s hard to fault Nicholls for the way he manipulates the reader. It seems clear from the outset that the story is going to follow the classic rom-com arc–boy meets girl, boy runs away from girl, boy calls girl when he is totally shitfaced, etc., etc., happily ever after. That’s not what actually ends up happening, unfortunately. I still really enjoyed the book as a whole, but I think my cat might have thought I was losing it at the end, what with the crying.

(Library book)


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Malin’s CBR-III Reviews #19-22: River Marked by Patricia Briggs, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby and One Day by David Nicholls

Yet again I fell behind on my blogging and have to update with a monster post. Have tried to diversify my reading a little bit.

19. Paranormal fantasy, book 6 in a series, contains some spoilers for earlier books in the series: http://kingmagu.blogspot.com/2011/03/19-river-marked-by-patricia-briggs.html

20. Non-fiction, which is unusual for me, written by the excellent Mr. Bryson. Highly recommended: http://kingmagu.blogspot.com/2011/03/20-short-history-of-nearly-everything.html

21. My third attempt at reading Nick Hornby – probably my favourite of his so far: http://kingmagu.blogspot.com/2011/03/21-juliet-naked-by-nick-hornby.html

22. I know I’m not the first to read and review this one, but the concept made me curious, and it was a quick read: http://kingmagu.blogspot.com/2011/03/22-one-day-by-david-nicholls.html

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Alli’s CBR-III Review #12 – One Day

Check it out

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Dorothy Snarker’s CBR-III Review #7 – One Day by David Nicholls

You can read my review of One Day on my blog.

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Akhirnya’s CBR III Review #3 and #4: One Day by David Nicholls (437 p.) and American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson (268p.)

I went through some of the past reviews, looking for ideas of books to read and added them all to my library queue.  I picked up the first batch of these two days ago, with the idea that I could mix these with the Steve Harvey and other assorted riff-raff that I picked up in my pile of won books.  This effort to keep my mind nimble has paid off, though Straight Talk, No Chaser must have tapped me more than I thought, because I devoured One Day in less than a single day and then went on to complete American on Purpose by the very next morning.

First off, I apologize on any mistakes in this review.  I’ve got a bit of a bug and probably shouldn’t sit down and start writing something after taking a hit of codeine-infused cough medicine, but there you go.  I’m nothing if not dedicated.  Also, kudos to Krista for her excellent review of One Day – it led me to picking up the book for myself.  Thanks to TheOutlawJosie for her review of American on Purpose – I had been meaning to pick up the book as I love Ferguson on The Late Late Show but had never gotten around to doing it until now with your reminder.  I will try to not give too many spoilers away in this review, but seriously, if you’re reading a review, you’re going to be spoiled on something, even if it’s just the names of the characters in the book.  So you are forewarned.

I appreciated the character-driven aspect of the novel.  The gimmick of revisiting the same two characters – Dexter and Emma – on the same day each year, over a span of twenty years, allows for character development that would be otherwise unlikely in a modest… well, um, I just looked up the pages and I suppose 400+ isn’t so modest, but it certainly didn’t seem like it was that long when I read it.  I don’t know if I should herald that as a good sign of how engrossing the book is or wonder if I was blacking out on my cough medication.  I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the book.  Anyway, the depth of the characters and change they experience as they move from young adulthood to middle-age is fantastic.

Emma changes from the college non-activist (you know the sort – passionate about a cause, but other than calling a few people a fascist doesn’t really make their voice heard on anything) to eventually realizing her life ambitions, and feels very real and authentic.  She may make bad choices at times, but those choices only add depth to her character.  Dexter is another story.  The changes that he experiences over the course of the twenty years are real enough, but it is hard to sympathize with a drunk asshole or a recovering drunk that is still an asshole.   But the frustration I had as a reader was more a symptom of wanting to knock some sense into him than feeling disconnected from the novel.

One Day is a fantastic long-term look at the friendship of two people and their lives over a twenty year span.  Although it is a story of the friendship of a boy and girl who find each other attractive, it is in no way formulaic or obvious.  I was sucked into the novel and I enjoyed not knowing where it would go next.  I’d definitely recommend it to others.

I think American on Purpose was an excellent follow-up to One Day.  Craig Ferguson was essentially a working-class Dexter for the better part of his life.  And what makes his stories of his alcoholic years bearable, and even charming at times, is that he is coming from a place of reflection and redemption.  While One Day highlighted the voice of an alcoholic under the curse of his disease, American on Purpose gives the story of atonement and rebirth from the sheer destruction that addiction can wreck upon a life.  This, ultimately, is what makes the book work, because as a reader you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  It is just a matter of finding out when the change occurs in Ferguson’s life.

More than that, the book shows that with drive and ambition, you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps and follow the dreams that you may not know you even had, and by doing so, make a spectacular success of yourself.  This plays into the American Dream™ and Ferguson’s take on all things Americana is particularly inspiring.  The book is called, after all, American on Purpose, and though he details the trials of his addiction to alcohol, the underlying theme is Ferguson’s multiculturalism and the meaning he finds in being Scottish while pursuing American citizenship.  If you’re an American reading this book and don’t feel more patriotic by its end, then you’re a dirty commie.

I highly recommend American on Purpose – I regret only being able to give two paragraphs of my attention to it in this review, but the codeine has finally kicked in and I’ve been typoing words left and right (somehow purpose always becomes purse) so I think it’s time to give the reviews a rest and get a bit of it myself.


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Krista’s CBR-III Review #3 – One Day by David Nicholls

My review one One Day. I had no idea it was being made into a movie (expected to be released 3rd quarter this year), and it’s totally the kind of movie I would like to see, so I’m glad I read the book first. (Because, you know… the book’s always better!)

Up next: The 19th Wife. Excited to get started and get reviewing!

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