One Day by David Nicholls

By on October 23, 2013 in Archive, Fiction

One day

Having seen the number one best seller on the shelves for quite a while, I decided to take the plague. I must say that my expectations were low; I thought it was probably yet another cheesy, romantic book I wouldn’t like. I can now tell you that I was mistaken. One Day is a brilliant story about how people change and how all you ever needed was right in front of you all the time.

Through the book we follow Dexter and Emma who seem to be as different as possible. Dexter is the ultimate spoiled player, living on his parents’ money, his charisma and money. He is self-centred, naive and surprisingly likeable. Emma, on the other hand, is an insecure and talented young adult who wants to change the world, or at least the little bit around her. They meet on the night of their graduation and despite the fact that they are so different they begin a friendship that will last for years. The reader gets to follow them on the same day for 20 years, the 15th of July.

The point of view-character switches from Emma to Dexter and to occasionally feature other important antagonists. I found the style of writing fascinating. Nicholls manages to switch from Emma’s point of view to Dexter’s in only one line, and as a reader you still get it. I have never come across this; it is generally very hard to pull off seamlessly but Nicholls does beautifully.

Even though the writing is beautiful, it is not why this book is a best seller. While reading the novel the characters became so vivid and real. I felt like I had known them my entire life; I knew their story. I actually laughed a few times thinking “That is so Emma” or “I knew that would happen!” Interestingly enough, that is something for which the book has been criticised for. People find the characters predictable in a bad way. That makes me wonder if they have reflected over why the book is predictable. I don’t think they have. The thing is that, as we get to know the characters so well, we know how they will act and can relate to them. That is the recipe for a best seller, to be able to relate to the characters. People ignorant of this shouldn’t be critiquing books.

I really enjoyed reading this book; it had me hooked from the first page. The plot is well thought-out and the characters are credible; I have nothing but praise for what Nicholls has achieved. I hope to see more from him with the same great quality as One Day.