I just finished reading a book called One Day, by David Nicholls and wanted to write a review about it. Not something I often do, but if I find a good book I feel the need to recommend it to others.
The main characters in this book are Dexter and Emma, who meet on graduation day and end up spending the night together, though they don’t quite ‘get it on’. Partly because of this, but also because they are leaving University the following day to start their new lives, the pair don’t get together as a couple but remain friends.
The book follows their lives as they meet on St Swithen’s Day every year. Dexter is a middle class boy who has been brought up to believe that he is destined for great things, but he has no idea what he wants to do with his life, so he stumbles his way along until he lands a job as a late night television presenter. Emma is a first class honours student, but a Northern working class girl; she lacks the self belief that Dexter has, despite having more going for her than he does.
Whilst Dexter is living the high life, going to late night parties surrounded by people who call themselves his friends, Emma ends up working in a restaurant and living with a man she cares about but doesn’t love. The pair continue to meet yearly, but their relationship becomes strained and they start to drift apart. Emma still cares for Dexter and is upset to see the way he is ruining his life through drink and drugs, whilst Dexter feels frustrated with Emma’s lack of ambition and willingness to do anything with her life.
As the two of them work their way through the nineties, struggling to find happiness in both their personal lives and their careers, things take a turn for the worse for Dexter as his television work dries up. At the same time Emma finds success, first as a teacher and then an author. But as their old university friends begin to marry, the couple find themselves meeting up more and more frequently and eventually they re-kindle their friendship.
I loved being taken back to the nineties with this book. There are anecdotes related to the television shows, the hair do’s and the clubbing scene, amongst many others. Anyone who did their own growing up during this time couldn’t fail to relate to the characters and their struggles. It was a time when everyone went to University – well that’s what it felt like. We didn’t have to pay fees and some of us were even given Government grants. You could even get into university without making the grades.
So it is not surprising that most of us came out of university not really knowing what we were going to do with the rest of our lives. And as that newly graduated enthusiasm for the world begins to fade, so the journey to discover yourself really begins.
I can’t tell you any more about the book without spoiling it, except that it is an exceptionally good read and one where you are desperate to know how the pair will end up. Read it if you get the chance, I recommend it, and let me know what you think.