One Day – David Nicholls

Posted 14 January, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 24 Comments


Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Published: 2009; Pages: 435
Genre: Fiction
Rating: I cried then tossed the book across the room

In Short: After a one night affair in 1988, One Day follows the evolving relationship of Emma and Dexter on the anniversary of that day for nearly twenty years.

Why I Read It: Someone(s) said it was fantastic. Was it you? I honestly can’t remember. I thought it was Christina but when I re-read her review I realized it wasn’t her. PS–I miss her!

Thoughts in General: Confused by the premise? So basically we see what is going on in the lives of the main characters on July 15th of every year. It seems as though this would make the characters thin but one of the strengths of the book is the character development. We see Emma and Dexter’s every desire and every flaw, they change and evolve and regress and fail. Though nineteen years ended up being a bit too long for me and I especially grew tired of Dexter’s character. But even when the characters annoyed me (sometimes deeply), I felt this was a strength of their development to make me care and loath so deeply for two people.

Another strength? I really enjoyed Nicholls’s writing–it is brutally honest and covers everything. The dialogue and exchanges always felt very real to me and I also liked that it was decidedly British. Ha! I know that sounds funny but to me this gave the book much more flavor. Is seeing a snapshot of two people on one day a year for so many years believable? It’s an interesting concept and I think that Nicholls pulled it off. Though I tried not to get too caught up in “what the heck is going on the other 364 days of the year?” or any of the other technicalities.

The downfall for me? Dexter. I was so so angry with him much of the book. But I guess maybe that’s the point. That and the 19 year stretch did get to be a bit long. It seems as though I had more thoughts but now I don’t remember them. I finished this a week ago. Lame, I know.

Bottom Line: I cried and then tossed the book across the room. I wanted to love this one more than I did–mostly I just couldn’t stand Dexter and since he’s such a huge part of the book (half!), but then it made me cry and I loved the book a little more, but then I got really mad again and tossed the book. Let me tell you about the very strange look that Scott gave me as I was sitting in my recliner sobbing.


Have you read One Day (or seen the movie)? What did you think? Have you ever read a book that made you toss it across the room?

24 Responses to “One Day – David Nicholls”

  1. Hm. I still haven’t read this one, or seen the movie. But I’m pretty sure lots of people were saying it is amazing when it came out. I have to say, it sounds like an intriguing book.
    I don’t think I have to like the main characters to enjoy a book, although I can’t think of any examples of this. And I can totally relate to manic reactions to books that puzzle and amuse others.

  2. I wanted to punch this book really, really hard with both fists, AND I’m not kidding when I tell you that I also tossed it against a wall! It made me mad. Very mad. And I wanted to kick Dexter, too. I felt used and taken advantage of by the end . . . not a good feeling in a novel!

    To add insult to injury, my sister rented this one blindly a year or so ago to watch on a girls’ night — and because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, I sat there and watched it. And tried to act casual. All the while knowing I was going to be furious by the end, which I was.

    Though I really love the actor how played Dex, Jim Sturgess. And Anne Hathaway! WHY, Anne Hathaway? . . . Why?

  3. Oh yes, I’ve actually give the book away, and then asked for it back. I guess the author could say he’s achieved a reaction from his reader.

  4. I haven’t read this because so many people have told me they threw this book across the room. I own it though. Maybe when I’m feeling really antagonistic and want someone to hate, I’ll read this!

  5. I have to read it now and know all there is to know about this. And I’m LOLing thinking about Scott and “the look.”

  6. One Day has been on my tbr list since it came out. After your reaction, I think I’ll move it down the list. If I never read it, eh.

  7. I tried to look up my review of this book, but apparently I never wrote one. I know I voiced my opinion of it somewhere. The book was okay, but felt like typical chick-lit to me. Except, of course, it was written by a MAN, so it got all kinds of praise. I just didn’t see how it was any differerent than plenty of great fiction written by women, about relationships. But once a man did it, it’s literature. The book was fine. Good. Sad. I should have loved it, and maybe I would have if a woman wrote it!
    I must have read this around the time of Unless by Carol Shields, and she got my feminist dander all up. And that doesn’t happen very often.

  8. I miss you!!! My goal at the end of the month is to get RTTN rolling again. Last year I read THREE BOOKS. That’s it!!! Argh. I think I’m gonna do a Trish-change and combine my blog with more aspects of my life. I love the BB community but man it was just taking over. I mean, I would feel GUILTY if I didn’t read over 100 books? What is up with that.

    I REALLY wanted to like this book too. It’s unfortunate. It became a movie didn’t it? I wonder if the movie would be better?

    Hugs to you and the little ones. They’re SO FREAKIN’ GROWN. My has time passed so quickly!


  9. I didn’t mind most of it (though, yes, urgh, Dexter), but the event near the end I though so unnecessary and somewhat predictable. I haven’t literally tossed a book across the room but I’ve definitely felt like doing so a few times!

  10. I haven’t read it, but reading your review, I don’t think it’s my kind of book. I have a tough time finishing a book when I don’t like one of the main characters. The sobbing and then throwing the book across the room is quite a strong visual!

  11. I loved this one but totally see how Dexter (well both to some extent) could get on your nerves. Like you said, it was an interesting concept and the writer really was able to pull it off!

  12. My review of this is so vague and wanders all over the place. My thinking is that I didn’t really like it but my review shows I gave it 4 stars. And that I cried. I do tend to like books that make me cry. I don’t even remember if I saw the movie but I must have, right? Anyway, I did think my review was entertaining. What are you reading now? next?