Part of me really didn't want to like David Nicholls' novel One Day, which has been made into a feature film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. I think the fact that the trailer looked like that of a typical romantic comedy made me a bit averse to the story - would the book or the movie really be significantly different, better, or worse than any other rom com I've read or seen? Once I immersed myself in the first few pages of this story, however, I was pretty damn well hooked.
The story is based upon your basic boy meets girl premise. Brits Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley share the night of July 15, 1988 together when we first meet them. Though this first encounter, an end of college one-night stand, turns into a long lasting relationship, it isn't a romantic relationship at first. Nicholls revisits Dexter and Emma each consecutive year after 1988 on the anniversary of their first meeting, July 15th. These little annual snapshots taken make for an interesting narrative course. We are sometimes left to guess what has happened during those seasons to which we are not privy, as we are also sometimes initially led astray by our narrator, only to realize that Dexter and Emma are still in friend territory. By only revisiting these characters for one single day out of every year, Nicholls creates a constantly interesting and intriguing storyline that makes this romance a little more mysterious and enticingly convoluted.
I think I was also such a fan because I was in the market for a good beach read at the time. Too many serious, dense books left me wanting something a bit more frivolous, comical, and feel-good. One Day completely delivered and left me satisfied for days I was done. Even more so, I related a lot to Emma's character - a recent college graduate who is motivated to change the world in some way, shape, or form with no particular idea of how to do so. Her lack of defined direction and lack of confidence were easy for me to identify with and also a source of comfort - though Emma Morley is a fictional character in a book (and now a movie too), having that small morsel of commonality made me feel just a little better about my own general uncertainty.
Now I'm just uncertain as to whether I want to watch the film version or not. The novel was a page-turner for me as it offered a pretty mindless escape from the stress of work and figuring out what to do with my life (a seemingly constant struggle for me these days). I devoured all 400-plus pages relatively quickly, but I'm not sure how much of that can be attributed to the story itself (which would translate well to the movie) and how much to the way in which it was written (which would not). I'm sure that somewhere down the line, I'll give Hathaway and Sturgess' interpretation of One Day a try, but for now, I think I'll savor the written version and all the accompanying images I've created in my own mind.
at 7:44 AM