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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now, seriously, this book is great fun
After I had been ploughing through two brick-like books that had 'Literature' (with capital L) writ large all over them, this variation on the evergreen topic of 'Harry and Sally' was a most welcome relief: genuinely funny, liberal doses of acid repartee and shrewd observations, great care given to telling details and lots of fine craftsmanship spent on the staging of...
Published on 5 Jan 2010 by baroquemaniac

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Please Please don't buy this awful awful book.
I tried really hard to like this book. It’s set in an era I grew up in, in an area I’m familiar with, and with characters working in fields I’m involved

Initially I picked it up and I thought ‘They can’t be this shallow? They can’t be this self-regarding? They can’t be this weak?’ and I threw the book away from...
Published 1 month ago by William Eggleston


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now, seriously, this book is great fun, 5 Jan 2010
This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
After I had been ploughing through two brick-like books that had 'Literature' (with capital L) writ large all over them, this variation on the evergreen topic of 'Harry and Sally' was a most welcome relief: genuinely funny, liberal doses of acid repartee and shrewd observations, great care given to telling details and lots of fine craftsmanship spent on the staging of embarrassing encounters, disastrous reunions and relationships derailing. (I particularly liked the parlour game gone horribly wrong at the home of one of the leading man's prospective girlfriends.)

And what is more, from the very beginning there is beneath the surface charm a strong undercurrent steering proceedings away from mere lightweight banter into the more troubled waters of a true ,human comedy`. In the last chapters the author even sets about sounding depths for which the reader arguably has not been sufficiently prepared; I still wonder if these late twists add an extra layer of complexity or simply strike a false note and ultimately are Nicholls' misguided bid for being shelved with the serious authors.

The concluding pages are heavily fragrant with bitter-sweetness, again something an author introduces at his own risk; but on the other hand there is no denying that the unexpected narrative device used in these pages conveys an adeqaute impression of things coming full circle and being brought to a close.

And yes, I was moved, so no more niggling and five stars out of five.
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879 of 962 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like life, you'll like this, 18 Jun 2009
By 
Matthew Gracie (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
From being a celebrity in the 90's to having a boss with a large beard, nothing is shied away from in this big pot of life. This book follows every 15th July from 1988 (end of their studentship) to near present day in the lives of two characters; Emma and Dexter, and their relationship with each other and others. Don't be put off by the length (430 odd pages) of this book - it is so ridiculously easy to read it makes the act of putting on a DVD seem like overexertion. That's not to say that the writing isn't thickly layered - it's stuffed with literary calories. Emma and Dexter jump out of the book and start living with you, eat your food and argue over the top of your head about the worthlessness of Scrabble. So much of the sharp-razor sharp dialogue sticks a grin on your face, people are unlikely to sit next to you on the train (read in extra comfort).

So there's Emma: warm, funny and cataclysmically directionless. Dexter: confident, arrogant, and transparent. The book then bends these attributes into the three dimensional. Their relationship treads its own path - there's no inevitability in what the next year will bring - their interactions with others the same. Every supporting character, whether they're on one page or a hundred is given their own space to be believable and interesting, and most likely make quite a bit of a mess of things.

The book finished - I'm missing them both. Time for them to come and bother you.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that grabs and holds you long after you've finished it, 17 Mar 2010
By 
davidT "Omnivore" (Hildesheim, Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Day (Paperback)
I enjoyed the first seven-eighths of this book as an above-average rites-of-passage yarn about graduates entering the big world, making mistakes, and then settling down. Some engaging characters, some irritating, all at times infuriating. So far, so comfortable.
Then suddenly, it was like being simultaneously hit between the eyes and in the stomach. What??? I went back and read the two previous pages again - there was no way he could mean literally what he seemed to have said. But he did, and the book was turned inside out.
I had read other reviews, when I was halfway through or less, and some compared it to The Time Traveller's Wife. I couldn't see this at the time, but having finished the book, I begin to get the point - whilst the two novels are different in plot, characters and outcome, there's the same skilful handling by the author, who has to continually keep track of what the reader knows about the characters together with what the characters know about themselves and each other.
The full story only fits together right at the end, but there's no point skipping to the last page to find out what happens - the last few pages are in fact in the nature of a prologue, though they come right at the end. Don't understand? Well, without spoiling it, I can't really be any clearer.
An incredibly assured narration, and one of the rare books (and I get through the thick end of a hundred novels a year) which stays in your mind long after you close it. Human characters, with all that that entails in frailty, inconsistency, humour and occasional toe-curling embarrassment, who are easily believable as inhabiting the same world as the rest of us. And a gut-wrenching sadness which persists, as a tribute to an author who grabs you by the scruff of the neck and leaves you feeling that you've shared their lives with them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spookily accurate!, 14 Feb 2011
This review is from: One Day (Paperback)
If you were born between 1965 and 1975 and ever had a 'we're just good friends, honest' relationship with a fellow student - you will enjoy this. You will cringe.
I laughed out loud at many of the observations - the angst of twenty-somethings' relationships, the ritual of thirty-somethings' weddings, the horror of other people's baby-bliss. The disbelief that any of us would ever turn 40.
Loved it, loved it.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 8 Sep 2009
By 
P. Cockerill - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
This book was great! I've never been one to review (up to now) but would like to pass on my recommendation. I don't read a lot as I struggle to find the time, so if I do commit my time I am fearful of choosing a dud. However this was my pick for my holiday read and I was delighted with my choice. The writing is interesting and caused me to laugh out loud too many times to count. However there are many facets to this story apart from the humour. The unusual structure is not complicated but does add to the reading experience. The more I read, the more difficult I found it to put down. Buy and enjoy!
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211 of 235 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beguiling and magical tale, 24 Aug 2009
By 
P. Whelerton "Darwin70" (York, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
I've never been moved to write a review of any book before but this was simply wonderful. David Nicholls has managed to conjure characters so full of depth that in finishing the book I felt almost bereft at their parting. Unlike a paint-by-numbers romcom brimming with contrivances to keep the characters apart, the tale moves with grace and humour through subtle and unexpected turns. The characters aren't always "made for each other", they're not always perfectly perky with adorable quirks; occasionally, like us all, they can be unpleasant, foolish, embarrassing and cowardly.

It is perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, the characters' genuine flaws that this books pulls so strongly at your heart, ringing so true as we explore the effects of our action and inaction in life. With effortlessly beautiful dialogue, and the ability to pick out the tiny subtleties of life, the story will carry you through on a wave of emotion, nostalgia, regret and hope so strong as to feel like a personal memory.

The "same day each year" idea sounds like high concept but its effect in the book is almost transparent to the reader. In fact, closer inspection shows that it actually works wonderfully to drive the story through a clever mix of drama and the everyday - just like life. On the years when the day itself is unremarkable the discovery of what has happened in between provides the reader with rich rewards whilst, all the while, Nicholls draws warmth and humour from the minutiae of life.

As the book draws to a conclusion, the story has an elegant and wondrous subtlety that prompts the involuntarily butterflies-in-stomach feelings of hope, excitement, fear and optimism that one only gets from falling in love.

I read this on a night flight and was thankful that the overhead light illuminated only the pages in front of me for I know that my eyes would have betrayed my feelings as the story closed. A profound tale woven from ordinary truths about love, life and feelings that will leave you genuinely moved and desperate to lend this to someone else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Please Please don't buy this awful awful book., 31 July 2014
This review is from: One Day (Kindle Edition)
I tried really hard to like this book. It’s set in an era I grew up in, in an area I’m familiar with, and with characters working in fields I’m involved

Initially I picked it up and I thought ‘They can’t be this shallow? They can’t be this self-regarding? They can’t be this weak?’ and I threw the book away from me after a few chapters and picked it up a month later to see if my first impressions were wrong.

Those impressions were right. The two central characters are weak, spineless, dishonest, neurotic, whining and despicable.

He is a TV presenter who adopts a fake persona for the camera, narcissistic, alcoholic, insensitive, untrustworthy, dishonest, feckless, totally lacking in vision, creativity, or authenticity and not in any sort of dark interesting rogueish way. Just in a kind of bland bad boy lite way.

She is a weak willed, uninspiring, somewhat cowardly, self hating and self doubting writer with low self esteem. She drags herself through a series of low end crap jobs and relationships with crap people until she is finally redeemed by the act of writing.

Get it? Media=Bad, Writing=Good.

I found it impossible to be sympathetic to these characters. I was also puzzled by their ‘Love’ for each other. The guy is not kind or honest, talented or courageous, he doesn’t display any admirable qualities - the only things he has going for himself is he is incredibly good looking and has a massive ego. Perhaps she with her low self esteem is drawn towards his ego. There don’t seem to be any other reasons other than lust. And their dialogue seems to consist almost wholly of banter. It’s not like they have anything meaningful to say to each other.

I thought for a while that at least the female character is caring but she doesn’t seem to care about anyone but him so that doesn’t really count.

There’s barely one decent character in the whole novel.

There’s this very revealing bit towards the end of the novel where the female character says:

“That’s what I always wanted to write, this great, angry state-of-the-nation novel, something wild and timeless that reveals the human soul, not a lot of silly stuff about snogging French boys at discos.”

I think that paragraph is autobiographical for Mr. Nichols cause that’s what he’s written. Teenage lust masquerading as romance.

My mind boggles how this dreck was made into a movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weird romance with a permanently drunk main character, 14 Feb 2014
This review is from: One Day (Paperback)
Didn't like the book at all. First, I couldn't adhere to the jumps in the timeline. Sometimes, the gap in actions were too much and I couldn't understand the evolution from one year to the next. Second, and more importantly, I was REALLY put off by all the alcohol and drug excesses of the main characters. I'd say 90% of the story, Dex is drunk or totally stoned. And without giving anything away, the stunts he pulls are truly upsetting. I was so upset I couldn't get to sleep one night. Finally, I think the description "romantic novel" would quite fit the bill. Yes, it's the story about Dex and Emma but, honestly, except for 50 pages in the book, they're not together and live parallel lives.

So I really wouldn't recommend this book - unless you're forwarned that it's gross, upsetting and sad.
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124 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 13 July 2009
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This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
One of the best novels I`ve ever read. The characters are likeable and you can`t help yourself willing them to get together. The concept is fantastic; You never really know what happens immediately after the end of each chapter, as the next one takes place exactly one year later. I`m not entirely sure whether this should be classed as a romantic comedy; It`s a novel about relationships that should appeal to both men and women. Sure, Emma Mayhew comes out with a lot of amusing one-liners, but that`s not really what One Day is about. There`s no sloppy romanticism here either, no sex scenes described in elaborate euphemisms. This book is about realistic characters feeling the sort of emotions we have all felt. All human life is here in this novel and it`s utterly compelling.
I`m not usually one to get emotional over books and films, but I found myself close to tears at some points in One Day. One page in particular, I had to go back and re-read several times, it affected me so much.
One more thing: If you`re the type of person who likes to read the last page of a novel to see how it all turns out, don`t bother. The last couple of pages will tell you nothing at all.
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72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't stop thinking about it, 29 Jun 2009
This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
I read this book in a couple of days, but after a week I still can't stop thinking about it. The two characters don't just seem real - it's like you really do know them - and I don't mean this in some literary, metaphorical sense either. The whole thing made me cry tears of joy and sadness and still does. And I keep picking it up again, re-reading passages. In a funny kind of way the book works in real time: it occurs over a period or some 20 years, but, like real life, the twenty years seem flash by in a few days.... literally. The book provokes a real sense of you needing to know what will become of these two people, but whatever you do, don't peek ahead. Ingenious, heartbreaking, and just astonishingly beautiful.....

one other thing. Nicholls quotes Thomas Hardy a bit, but as well as the chapter quotes, the technical similarities are very striking - right down to certain things relating to destiny, time, and premonition that happen in the plot. This is every bit as smart as Hardy, and rather less sanctimonious.
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One Day
One Day by David Nicholls (Hardcover - 11 Jun 2009)
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