Cottage Read: ONE DAY by David Nicholls


The perfect beach read for people who are normally repelled by the very idea of beach reads."

-Nick Hornby, from his blog

Summary: A graduation hook-up is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. ONE DAY tracks Dex and Emma's relationship spanning twenty years on one day: St. Swithin's Day (July 15th).

I can't think of one instance where I saw a movie and said, "I've gotta go read the book now." So, I was in a hurry to read ONE DAY before Anne Hathaway spoils the ending this August. 

The WRITING is what makes this novel special. It's scientifically impossible for all the little insights that make this book to find their way onscreen. There are so many treasures, paragraphs that make me go YES! That's it exactly! that will inevitably get lost in translation. 

It's a very fun read. DEX is a young Hugh Grant. He's a handsome, drunk trainwreck, but charming enough that you keep hoping he'll get his sh*t together. Emma reminds me of so many girls I went to Smith College with: smart, literary, bursting with ideals and hopes of political change. She even owns hiking underwear.

It's worth reading just for the social commentary. There's a genius bit comparing the first, second, third, and fourth waves of weddings...

The second wave, the mid-twenties weddings, still retained a little of that tongue-in-cheek, home-made quality. The receptions took place in community centres and parents' gardens, vows were self-composed and rigorously secular, and someone always seemed to read that poem about the rain having such small hands (263).

It's a great read for the plane, cottage, beach, hammock, or doctor's waiting room. But, I suggest reading the last seventy pages alone in a hot bath, or with a box of kleenex, or perhaps with a therapy dog in lap. It hurts so good. 

After reading it, one can't help but reflect on one's own life: how everything changes and nothing changes at the same time. I couldn't shake this excerpt. I want to tape it to my fridge. 

'Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really who had energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.