My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Dex and Em. Em and Dex. So seems to be their world in One Day by David Nicholls.
Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley meet at University on July 15th – and for the next 19 years (and chapters) we are given a snap shot of their relationship and the evolution of their lives on the same date. There were many times during this reading that I thought I was enduring 50 years of their relationship. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This novel has already been optioned as a movie starting Anne Hathaway and a British actor, Jim Sturgess…so the buzz for this book as been lofty. I had high expectations of clever romantic comedy and romance; sexual banter and wit; a happy ending. Bullocks! And I don’t even know what that means?!
From the first page I realized I was behind the 8 ball because this is ultimately a British book. With British humor (or humour) and British slang. None of which I understand. Words like knackers and shagger and summat. Oh, and the aforementioned Bullocks. I needed either Hugh Grant or Austin Powers to translate for me. If there was any rhythm or repartee – it was lost on me, because I didn’t understand the context. So shoot me.
Also, the characters – Em and Dex or Dex and Em – whichever you prefer – were just not the least bit appealing.
Dex is ultimately a drunk. He spends the majority of the book wallowing in his own filth and vomit. At one point, he is taking care of his 7 month old daughter in a drunken stupor and his actions, in any other “REAL” situation, would have gotten him arrested. All the while the author was trying to make it FUNNY. Not so much. And his treatment of Emma is not very endearing either. Why she would want to spend one minute with this oaf is beyond me.
Emma is only slightly better. She at least is sober – but we endure her dead end job at a terrible Tex-Mex restaurant in London (Tex Mex in London? Really?); a long term, but loveless, relationship with Ian, and a fling with a school headmaster, which is icky. Eventually though, Emma gets her act together and develops her love of writing, which leads to a book deal. Things are looking up for Emma—and then Dex reappears.
I was hoping for the best at the end – hoping that I would like that these two found each other and, really, deserved each other. But it doesn't happen. Or at least how I wanted it. Boo.
If you are an Anglophile with a deep love of all things British, then you would probably enjoy this novel. It just wasn’t for me.
Mari of Bookworm with a View also reviewed One Day.
Book source: personal copy
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