i know i'm a little late to the party with this review; i'm fairly sure everyone has either read it, or seen the film by now, which is ok by me as it means this won't spoil anything - i was deliberating whether or not i ought to review it as i couldn't decide whether i was missing something when i read the book, as all i can see is everyone and his dog singing nicholls' praises for creating such an amazing novel..
all i can say is i think that they must have been reading something else.. i didn't find either of the main characters particularly likeable..emma is gawky, cranky, and frankly incredibly weak, and there is nothing to like about dexter's caddish behaviour; he's introduced as a bratty rich kid when their story begins, and he doesn't get any better..
i do like the premise, the bones of the tale being that the two main characters meet on st swithin's day, the night before they graduate, and the reader catches up with them each year on that day - july 15th - and discovers how their 'doomed before it started' relationship is getting on, how their lives intertwine with each other's..my problem with this is why do they?!
emma and dexter have nothing in common..their backgrounds, their attitudes to life and work, they just don't complement each other..so why would there be a friendship (let alone a relationship) maintained, over the course of twenty years? yes, she starts off like a lovesick teen, with an unrequited longing, or more likely a sexual tension, and he's the object of her affection..i'm pretty sure that most students go through an episode like that during the course of their uni life..but then they graduate, grow up, and start living in the real world, and stop returning the letters, calls or texts from the losers they knew at uni and who don't enhance their life in any way and who they would rather leave behind..
other than being completely difficult to like the characters (i honestly couldn't bring myself to like any of them, not just emma and dexter; ian got the top spot on my 'kick-in-the-face list', and suki wasn't far behind), i found the plot annoyingly predictable..the engagement, the unsent letter, and most of all the death..to me it just said "i don't know where to go with these two, so i'll choose the easy option and kill one off"!
i know that the only reason for this book's success hype is the fact that there is a man's name on the front cover, rather than a womans'..had it not been written by a male, i'm fairly sure that one day would be in the bargain bin with all the other dregs of the chick-lit genre, in a supermarket near you..
i'd be interested to know what you think of it, i'm well aware i'm in the minority, but these were just my thoughts on reading it..