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Thursday, 8 September 2011

i want you to want me..

book review : One Day by david nicholls

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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..

10 comments:

  1. I made it about half way through the book before giving up! i disliked all the characters and the story wasn't written well enough for that make me persevere until the end.

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  2. I'm about half way through as well, and couldn't agree more- I hate all the characters (apart from Dexter's mum) and like you, don't see how these two different people would really have stayed connected all these years. I'm not too keen on how it's written either, I prefer more classically written stuff, well worded, no coarse language, but I'm just weird like that :P I'm going to see it at the cinema tonight, maybe i'll like that more.. xx

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  3. I totally agree. The charachters weren't convincing and i thought their relationship was unrealistic!A bit one dimensional to just kill her off too. A predictable way of making it a sad story! Im normally a sucker for a love story but this just didnt do it for me!

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  4. I had an inkling that i wouldnt like the book. I tried to look on wiki to see if i can get the gist of it instead of reading the book. Thank you for the review. Really helpful. The cinema is so damn expensive, i don't like taking risks in going to see a film these days.

    Yep, you can take any product shot from the shop's website (the link is on the blog, or it's www.temporary-secretary.com). Thanks, lovely. Speak soon xxx

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  5. So I am that person living under a rock who's not actually read One Day yet!

    (I was going to but my mum read it and let slip the ending so I decided not to bother!)

    I find I'm much more critical of books that are so hyped up as this one, so I suspect it's not for me. It was interesting hearing your thoughts though, and I totally agree about the male writier thing - from a woman this sort of book would be classed as 'chick lit' and ignored!

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  6. You may be onto something with the author being a man - to be quite honest I'm not sure I would have given it a second glance if it looked like another chick lit book. Yes to hitting Ian, what a fanny! Totally agree too about how the hell they managed to stay friends - that made no sense to me either! Altho my bff and I have EVERYTHING in common, so maybe I'm basing it on that... ;)

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  7. I agree completely! I read this book while ill ages ago, and was completely underwhelmed. When the movie came out and there was so much love for the book I wondered if I had read a different book or if my cold had made me lose my taste.

    It was just completely terrible, and none of the characters were worthwhile.

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  8. This is such a great review and good on you for posting it. I read this book and enjoyed it for what it was, chick lit basically. I have read much, much worse (usually free with cosmo) so it wasn't badly written in my opinion, in terms of technical ability. You're right though, they don't make a good couple! It's a really unhealthy relationship from the start and unsurprisingly it's miserable apart from a couple of chapters!

    I think starter for ten is way better, yet this one has all the hype!

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  9. oh and about the author being a guy making it popular, you are SO RIGHT.

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  10. Char, this is a brilliant review. Two of my friends recommended this book to me saying how fabulous it was. It was funny in parts and I actually liked the tragic ending as so many novels of this genre are always so cheesy. However, I agree with you that it's so unlikely that the two would have anything to do with each other after meeting at university and as Ingrid above and others have said YES it's because the authors' a bloke - of course!

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