Read: One Day by David Nicholls
Drinking: Simply Lemonade with blueberry
I've been binge-reading all summer, most of the books very good, a lot of five-stars. But none of them have left me quite as book-hungover as One Day. I'm not really sure why, but when I put it down after reading it pretty much in two days straight I was in a daze.
It is well written, very beautiful, and hauntingly relatable. Nicholls take his trope - the tale of one day, July 15, for nearly 20 years - and expands beyond to tell two intertwined lives. Emma and Dexter are two twenty-somethings, then thirty-somethings trying to find their way in the world. I found myself nodding in understanding more than once, especially in the first half of the book as Emma feels she is wasting her life and her university degree. I related less well to Dexter's partying and infamy, but I know the feeling of being surrounded by people yet feeling very lost and alone. We've all been there.
It's also love story, a romance, but not in a conventional way. They make mistakes, life gets in the way, they are afraid. It reminds me very much of Love, Rosie - two good friends, obviously meant for each other, but lives keep getting in the way.
Although this book could easily fall under the "romantic chick-lit" category, there is much more to the story than just the romance. In fact, for a good portion of the book, Em and Dex are hardly friends, much less lovers. Dex spends much of his life drunk, high, and with an endless stream of women until it all comes crashing down. Em tries to find herself, only succeeding later than she intended to. Along the way there is so much life in them, so much exploring, and also years of failure and misery. It's never perfect. It's not always happy. But in the end, it's life, with all the bruises and scars. I think that between the quality of the writing and the way Nicholls so accurately portrays what life really is like, that the book sucked me in. I'm still not quite out.
One Day is not an uplifting novel. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes uncomfortable, yes. Like life itself, though, it is beautiful through. And the end leaves the reader with hope despite everything. I highly recommend it to all of us who are struggling still with our twenties or even thirties. The world is out there and we will eventually make our way, even if not in the way we expected.