One Day by David Nicholls book review

Sometimes a book comes along that really stays with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it. For me most recently One Day was that book. It may well be the best love story that I’ve ever read, featuring a beautifully difficult, honest and brutal portrayal of two people who never really know each other’s worth and yet forever want to be with one another.

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You may well have already heard of One Day as it’s really big on Netflix at the moment. A TV Series came out out based on the book a few weeks ago and it’s got a lot of people talking. For me, I saw my partner about to start the series, she asked if I’d read the book, I hadn’t even heard of the book so I quickly ordered it on Amazon.

Little did I know this book I’d just ordered would have such an affect on my as it did.

One Day plot – 4.75/5

One Day tells the on/off story of Emma and Dexter. They meet properly for the first time at their university graduation and after spending the night talking and the following day together, what ensues is one of the greatest friendships you’ll ever read in a book.

The book tells the lives of Emma and Dexter over a twenty-year period where they both try to pursue their own separate lives – they have relationships, holidays, memories, celebrations, highs and lows all away from one another. But every so often they end up meeting up and remembering that feeling that drew them together originally.

I don’t want to spoil the plot too much but there are moments in this book that will have you feeling almost sentimental towards their relationship.

The plot also takes you through the everyday difficulties that people face as they grow older: having to earn money, supporting other people, and trying to find something that will make you truly happy in your 20s. It’s a book that doesn’t just tell a story of true love but a story of true life too.

One Day character – 4.75/5

Now, what would be the point in a book being about love and romance if you, as a reader, couldn’t care less about those who were in love or trying to be romantic? Well, you’ll be pleased to know you’ll end up absolutely adoring both Dexter and Emma.

Emma is intelligent, funny but lacks any real confidence as the nerdy, quiet girl throughout most of her life. Dexter is the not-so-intelligent, good-looking male who has got through most of his life without any real effort and never really aces consequences for his negative actions.

What forms from this is a relationship where Dexter can’t help but admire Emma for not giving him everything he wants, saying everything he wants to hear and doing everything people specifically women usually do for him. Emma sees this man who will always be troubled as he constantly doesn’t know who he wants to be and she feels she’s the only one who can truly guide him to a happy life.

Dexter is innocent, pure and troubled. Emma is driven, and intelligent but lacks self-confidence. This creates the ingredients for two people who constantly find each other confusing and utterly fascinating at the same time.

One Day final rating – 4.75/5

I’ve not given a book five stars since I started my new .25 rating system and I’m not going to start now. But if I did, One Day would be the first to get it. A true love story filled with heartbreak and genuine emotion, One Day‘s Emma and Dexter “Em and Dex. Dex and Em” are two characters who will live in my head for the rest of my reading life. The on/off relationship, the actually believable conversations and interactions, the gripping plotline and the one moment that will leave all readers regretting they’d ever picked up this book make for not just one of the greatest love stories I’ve ever read but one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read full stop. Put down what you’re reading and read One Day now.

Pick up a copy of One Day

One thought on “One Day by David Nicholls book review

  • I’ve been thinking about reading this since I watched the new Netflix adaption, which is really excellent if you’ve not seen it. The actors playing Dexter and Emma are phenomenal.

    Obviously this book has been around for years, but I think the trailer for the 2011 movie gave me a false impression of it. I wasn’t prepared for the character depth, and I didn’t know the story would emotionally wreck me!

    Matt Haig wrote a great review on Instagram where he described Dexter in particular as a really rare male character. One who isn’t a hero or villain archetype, he is real. He said it is difficult to write a man who is flawed, behaves horribly but with such empathy that he is still someone the reader can care about want to do well. I thought that was very interesting and not something I’d really considered before!

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