|photo from B&N.com|
Author: David Nicholls
Published: Vintage Books, 2010
How I Got It: Purchased myself at an independent bookstore
Why I Read It: Heard good things about the book, plus it's being made into a movie and I almost always read the book before I watch the movie!
Rating: 3.5 stars
It's 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morely have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannont stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day - July 15th - of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunites, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself (from the back cover).
The first thing that drew me to this book? The cover. I love the silhouettes on the cover. I read the back synopsis, put it back on the shelf and kept browsing. Then before I left the store I picked it back up and one of the employees came over gushing about how amazing this book was. So I caved and bought it.
The book tells the story of Emma Morely and Dexter Mayhew by just giving the reader a glimpse into their lives by revealing only what they do on this one day. Think about what you were doing a year ago today. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what I was doing. But I know a lot changes in a year. I didn't think that it would be easy to keep up with the characters because of this. Relationships change, jobs change, living arrangements change, habits can change. It just seemed like too much of a gap. Surprisingly, I thought it worked for Emma and Dexter's story. Although there were times when I wanted to know more then just what happened on this one day.
On July 15, 1988, Emma and Dexter meet for the first time, as they're both graduating college. I felt that I could relate to Emma during the first few years after she graduates: you have the whole world ahead of you...but where to begin? She struggles with finding a job that utilizes the degree she worked so hard for. Emma takes a job as a waitress in a restaurant, not because it's what she wants to do but because it's a source of income (personally, I can relate to this a lot. I don't work in a restaurant but I have a job that has nothing to do with my degree and I am just there to pay the bills until I can find something else). As Emma gets older I found it harder to relate to her. Like how at some point when she was in her thirties she has an affair with a married man who also happens to be her boss. I wanted to scream at her for that.
For most of the book I couldn't stand Dexter. He's arrogant After he graduates he goes and travels the world (and the only sights he sees are the insides of the bars and clubs) while is parents are footing the bill. When he's finally ready to get a job, somehow he lands a job as a TV anchor and continues his lifestyle of drinking and women. As Dexter gets more fame and notoriety from being on a TV show, his friendship with Emma starts to diminish. They're growing apart. Emma is struggling to pay her rent and Dexter is just spending money left and right. But don't worry, when Dexter's life starts to crumble Emma comes back into his life. Okay, I'll admit it now: I kind of hated Dexter.
Even though the two main characters irked me at times, I really enjoyed the story. It was interesting to be able too see the evolution of Emma and Dexter's friendship. They're 24 years old when the story begins and you get to know them for the next twenty years.
I thought Emma and Dexter's story seemed very real. I didn't feel that anything was sugarcoated for them. Friends grow apart, people make mistakes, your future may turn out drastically different than you imagined, you may have had some missed opportunities, and coping with death.
Planning on seeing the movie when it is in theaters? Anne Hathaway is playing Emma and Jim Sturgess is playing Dexter. I have a crush on Jim Sturgess so I'll definitely be going to see the movie adaptation.
I'll leave you with a favorite quote from the book:
"Independent adult life. She didn't feel like an adult. She was in no way prepared. It was as if a fire alarm had gone off in the middle of the night and she was standing on the street with her clothes bundled up in her arms. If she wasn't learning, what was she doing? How would she fill the days? She had no idea" (page 12).