Tuesday, December 6

Book: One Day, David Nicholls Click for more info

One Day is an interesting book. It's certainly gripping and engaging and an enjoyable read, but I'm left wondering why since technically it's not that accomplished. But hey; let's go through this one by one.

The main feature of the book is the "one day" device itself (which I totally missed until the fourth chapter or so). We follow the lives of Emma and Dexter over twenty years by covering what they did during the same date of each. Yes, it's very technical possibly redundant and probably a little gimmicky, but in the main it works pretty well. I did find that at times things moved a bit too fast - you don't really get a sense of the passage of time and if I'm honest I wasn't even considering the fact that a year had passed from one chapter to the next - but maybe it's this weird passage of time that was the point of it, how time does fly quickly once you're in your 20s. The auther did paint himself into a corner at times, but managed to get out by some not so artful "reminiscing", but I did get annoyed at missing some of the important bits just because they fell during the wrong month.

Technically the book was written well, and I don't have many complaints about the flow of it. I did trip up a few times over who was saying or thinking what as I kept flipping from third to first person mode, but I suspect that was mostly due to me coming from Shantaram.

Characterisation was okay, but not great. I fancied Emma, of course, but Dexter was largely a waste of words, particularly as he fell into being such a cliché. I didn't think any of the characters were real people though, and that was a little bit of a shame. I did love how so much of it was set in the places I knew and loved, and there were at least three places in the book that I read while actually being in the actual locations themselves.

Like I said, I did enjoy this book, although that was probably more in a shallow than deep way; a bit like watching a trashy TV show or something. I do think that it could have been a lot more, but despite that it does get a recommendation.

As an aside, my copy of the book has been stamped with a BookCrossing.com ID, something which is supposed to encourage random and promiscuous passing around of the book. I've registered my reading of it, and will now attempt to pass it onto a random stranger for it to continue the journey - if you've happened to come from there then please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the book too.


  1. I enjoyed reading the book. I agree it is like a light rom-com, only with a rather shocking ending. I read this book after reading Jonathan Franzen's cynical novel called Freedom, so I appreciated the lack of depth and superficiality.

  2. I always thought of you as a person who wouldn't read a book if there was a movie made of it:


  3. Mohammed,

    Off the top of my head I can think of at least a couple of books - The Millennium Trilogy and Twilight - that I read after films had been released, I'm sure there are more. I plan on reading Game of Thrones and His Dark Materials too, so I'm not quite sure why you had that impression.

    There are plenty of other books that have been made into films since I had read them (Harry Potter, LOTR, Narnia, Shataram perhaps, Davinci, etc etc) so I'm not sure how anyone could follow the "no books if film" rule unless the book is really old.

    Oh and as an aside I actually watched One Day the night I finished the book. It sucked and reaffirmed what I concluded about the book: that it lacks substance. Don't watch it.