One Day by David NichollsRarely am I left speechless, I usually have plenty to say, but as I reflected on this novel, I realized there would be no surefire way to describe this book. It is a complete conundrum. Readers will either love or hate this book, I don’t think it there is much of a middle road with this one. It will speak to those with similar personal experiences.
I enjoyed the format. It gives the reader snapshots of Dex and Em’s life, like flipping through a stack of polaroids, just a flash of what was going on at a particular time. Picking the same day established a sequence and highlighted that life and circumstances can change so quickly at times, or not change at all as was in Em’s case when two days start exactly the same. I think this was an intelligent way to approach a story that spans 20 years. We don’t really need a full depiction of every single event in their lives to have a sense of what they are going through.
Characterization was excellent. Dex and Em quickly became real in my mind, as if I was peeking into the lives of a couple of friends, or reading their journal pages. I too quickly began to know what Emma would or would not like just as Dex did. The characters were genuine. Some reviews say that they were stereotypical…but I find that some people latch onto stereotypes, it helps them define themselves. I feel this is what Emma was doing in her youth with her political stances and thus why they are not as important as she grows older. So are they really stereotypical characters? Or are they just portraying their ideal personas as so many people do?
I find that comparisons to When Harry met Sally fall short. I understand the reasons for the comparisons in that they are both about friends that seem to circle back every few years and make sarcastic quips to one another. But I feel like it ends there. To me, this is more of a modernized Wuthering Heights.
The author’s ability to write from a woman’s POV is refreshing. I am hesitant when I read something written by a man, trying to sound like a woman. I generally feel like it’s not authentic,like there is something off. Not with this book. Em thought the way I would think, said things that I would say.
In the end, this novel deeply affected me. I have not read something that has touched me this much in some time. It spoke to me completely as I was tortured by my own Dex in my youth and early adulthood. The emotions are portrayed as they should be; the frustration, the yearning are, from my perspective, completely legitimate. I found myself feeling like I was reading bits and pieces of my own story. I had knots in my stomach through most of the book and after finishing this at 1 am this morning, I could do nothing but stare at the ceiling and walls, absorbing what I had read, tearing it apart mentally, and extracting lessons from it to be applied in life. That, for me, is the mark of a wonderful novel, reading that reaches into your soul and touches your heart, writing that moves you to feel.
Days of our lives
Spanish dialogue. Never allowing its overstocked cast of characters much breathing room, the film lurches from Afterschool Special-style moralism to perfunctory murder mystery to sappy melodrama with all the tonal consistency of a rusted tuba, stranding several excellent actors in the process. The standout in a strong cast, Piper has a naturalistic grasp of the more undemonstrative aspects of teenage rebellion, and in an early argument with his mother, Margo the always welcome Maribel Verdu , Jon seems a decent kid working through typical adolescent ennui and still grieving the recent death of his father. The film never acknowledges that such behavior seems to suggest a budding Jeffrey Dahmer more than a Holden Caulfield, presenting it instead as simply the last straw for Margo, who sends Jon off to live with his estranged, ex-military grandfather, Max Tito Valverde , in a small town on the Alicante coast. Very few of these plot strands connect or develop in any meaningful way; nor do they elicit much of a response from Jon. With the narrative gradually running out of steam, the script abruptly switches gears around the hour mark.