One Day – Written by David Nicholls
It took me a very, very long time to actually read this book. I have some apprehensions towards Nicholas Sparks-esque romance novels; typically, I do not connect with them and find them mediocre in terms of writing. David Nicholls did not write this kind of story and One Day is a refreshing tale, one that embodies a very lifelike relationship between two people over the course of a few decades.
Nicholls flawlessly shifts character viewpoints (we English nerds like to call this “third-person subjective.”) I liked this aspect of the novel. The way Emma and Dexter’s relationship works is complex and often blurry in terms of what both of them want. You need to know information from both characters in order to truly embrace Emma, Dexter, and their friendship. Although Dexter is, for the most part, obnoxious, condescending, and a bit of an asshole I found myself connected to his character and wanting the best for him. At the beginning of the novel, I wasn’t too thrilled and pushed myself through each chapter but by Part Two, the plot lines pick up and the characters begin changing–something we often don’t find in a stand alone novel.
One Day transgresses through the changing of times. We read about the familiar beginnings of technology, world crisis, and media sensations. It is almost as if the novel was being written through each of these years. Nicholls writes about distinct turning points in the world, with much clarity and has a deep connection with the development of his characters.
I was mildly surprised by the events at the novels end but, while somewhat predictable, I enjoyed One Day to a great extent. I absolutely love how the novel begins and ends during the same day, bringing Emma and Dexter full circle. David Nicholls opened my eyes to what romance novels can be, despite stereotypes. I actually rooted for love rather than roll my eyes at how trivial it seemed. One Day was definitely a change for me in terms of reading and, if interested in a classic tale about budding romance, this novel would be fitting.
“One Day” – Directed by Lone Scherfig
The major issues with this mook (besides Anne Hathaway’s heinous British accent) are the fact that, first, the novel is nearly 400 pages that spans the course decades and, second, Nicholls’ writing is very concentrated and without extensive dialogue. The beautiful thing about One Day is how in-tune we are with the characters thoughts and the way Emma and Dexter’s own notions seamlessly rotate. These are the kind of things that are difficult to translate to the moving image and the main reason why I felt the movie was moderately unsuccessful.
The character profiles were accurate and present, but everything was so fast moving it was difficult to keep up with. If I hadn’t read the novel I felt as if I wouldn’t have truly understood their relationship. Of course, with such a broad spectrum of information and only a limited time frame on which to focus, certain characters were minimized or cut completely (Tilly Killick, Suki Meadows, Mr. Godalming, Mandy, etc.) This did not bother me. I felt the film was missing some depth and explanations. Emma’s breakup with Ian, for example, is barely noted, making the scene where he appears in their flat post-breakup pretty strange (not to mention the fact that Ian was creepy and weird in every scene he appeared in, but I digress.) Additionally, Dexter and Sylvie’s disintegrating marriage was just barely explored. These are unfortunate choices a director must make.
“One Day” was a decent movie. Probably not my traditional choice of genre, but it did the book some justice. I liked that there were truly those moments where you laughed when you were supposed to and choked up when appropriate. However, it just wasn’t the book, plain and simple.
Mook Rating – ★★1/2