Thursday, November 4, 2010
Review: One Day
Emma and Dexter meet on graduation day in college. Despite the setting, they are not lovers, but possibly can develop into friends. However, it won't be easy: he's planning to take a year or two to travel, she's going to do something with her English studies (though exactly what has yet to be determined). It's 1988 in the UK, and these two are about to launch their lives in totally different directions.
Nicholls doesn't take the safe route, even if he uses tools familiar to most readers. Em and Dex weave through each other's lives in a myriad of ways and surrounded by a wide array of people. Nicholls does not pass judgement on these two: they simply find themselves in situations that are of their own doing, and the readers are free to condemn or pity, ridicule and pass judgement as they see fit.
Only readers will be too fascinated and engaged with Dex and Em, Em and Dex. A few scenes stand out for me, including communication that is overlooked and captured. One of the biggest changes in modern times is in the field of communication — where would we be without our cellphones? — and from time to time, those of an age to remember answering machines and home phone lines, will hearken back to the "good ol' days" of connection.
My only real issue is with a particular plot complication (which I know you will recognize when you encounter it). Nicholls and his brilliant novel nearly was launched across the room (though gently, because Kathy was kind enough to loan it to me). With most writers, it's the "get me out of this corner" or "Good heavens, what did I do here?" device I've encountered way too many times lately. Thankfully, I was invested enough with Dex and Em to keep reading, and I am so glad I did. When you get there, don't stop — keep reading and be rewarded.
Now go live with Dex and Em for a while. You will be glad you did.