Saturday, October 16, 2010

The story of "THAT" couple - ONE DAY

ONE DAY -- David Nicholls


Not to name names, but didn't we all have that friend in college who had a "Just friends! No, lovers! No, enemies! No, lovers! No, friends!" relationship  in college?  You know the kind I mean, where you feel like you're on a roller coaster just by watching them go through their own personal soap opera?  I was always frustrated because she's such a fantastic girl and he's usually a pretty cool guy, but together they confuse and disappoint...

David Nicholl's newest book looks at that couple over a 20 year span.  What makes his book so unique is his choice to return to the couple every year on the same date.  We meet Emma and Dexter on the day after they graduate college and we continue to meet up with them each year on that anniversary.  At first, I was concerned that the book would feel jumpy or that I'd have to piece together what they'd done during the year, but Nicholls is a gifted writer and the story flows really well.

Nicholls is British and I often find that current British writers present fairly depressing or despicable characters.  Take, for example, Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy.  Will is a fairly challenging character to like, what with his lying and cheating his way through life.  (Good book,though.  You should read it, but then watch a happy movie afterwards! I recommend Up!)  Even Nicholls' other two books focus on the lives of really challenging characters; one is smarmy while the other is, well, smarmy!

But, Emma and Dexter are wonderful!  They're the British version of us.  They're fun, funny, smart and great people.  They have insecurities and problems, sure, but they deal with them in the same ways that I would. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Nicholls actually snuck onto the Union College campus to get his inspiration!  Dexter's an awful lot like a certain guy I know, who will remain nameless.  And, Emma?  I think she was in my sorority...

If reading a book about the lives of your friends isn't enough of a selling point, here's another for you:  production has already begun on the film version of this story.  And, of course, the wonderful Anne Hathaway is playing Emma.  I'm confident it'll be a great movie, but it likely won't come close to the book. So, grab the book, dive in and head back to discover whatever happened to that crazy roller coaster couple you used to know...

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