Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ONE DAY by David Nicholls

I thought that this book was supposed to be funny, but it didn't strike me that way. In fact, to me, it was immensely sad, about two people who obviously love each other and stay in touch for years but keep making choices that stymie their opportunities to have a romantic relationship. The book's gimmick is that each chapter takes place on July 15, a year later than the previous chapter, starting with 1988. I found this structure to be choppy and not conducive to really burying myself in the lives of the two characters. Careful not to make too much happen on the same day of each year, the author gives us too many days that are either unpleasant or just plain boring. Even so, two very important events DO take place on July 15, and that's coincidence enough. Emma is a left-leaning, attractive woman with subzero self-confidence who aspires to change the world around her, or at least the world in her immediate vicinity. Dexter is a handsome, even "beautiful," man with a privileged background and alcoholic tendencies. In fact, he seems to be drunk on July 15 more often than not, so let's just elevate him to a full-blown alcoholic. His substance abuse leads to the downhill slide of his on-screen late-night TV career, while Emma struggles to find her life's calling, weighed down by her self-image and a very unfunny boyfriend who moonlights as a comedian. The big question is "will they" or "won't they" eventually get together, but this uncertainty wasn't enough for me.

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