‘I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference,’ she said.
Despite loving my dissertation subject and having thoroughly enjoyed my MA, I am hoping and praying that this year will be the last festive season marred by university work – fingers crossed! In times of super studying, I do like to turn to an old favourite of a read to cheer myself up and rescue me from critical theory. This year was David Nicholl’s One Day that was to be my comfort blanket, a book that I had been dying for ages to reread, as it’s a book I never tire of returning to.
Emma and Dexter begin their twenty-year friendship on the last eve of university, waking up together on St Swithin’s Day. This will be a friendship to last the test of time as each chapter marks the next St Swithin’s Day, 12 months on. From crappy post-uni jobs to high-flying careers, relationships and affairs to marriage and children, Em and Dex live through it all – but will they ever realise what truly lies between them?
Nicholls’s format and characters are the reason behind the popularity of this book – post-publication it was so popular that you couldn’t walk outside your front door without seeing the lurid orange cover somewhere nearby! Nicholls shares twenty consecutive years of Em and Dex with his readers so there’s plenty of ups and downs to witness and you follow them on their journey from students into adulthood.
These are far from perfect characters and Nicholls even plays with the likeability of his protagonists at times but the fundamental success of this book, for me, is how relatable Em and Dex are. Everyone makes the mistakes they make, thinks the thoughts that they think and recognises something of themselves in both characters. Either you know an Em and Dex, are one half of an Em and Dex story or are struggling with the same ghosts and barriers that they are. It’s a universal story told in a completely unique way, one that will have you tearing through the contents to see what happens next. It will have you laughing, despairing and will totally rip your heart out but that’s life, love and One Day.