I’ve watched the film a few years ago and – as always – I was quite doubtful about reading the book. Not because of the film itself (I really liked it), but because of that feeling of déjà-vu that sticks with me all along the book and that spoils everything. Like reading a detective story whilst already knowing who the killer is.
But then, if I have to ignore a book at the very moment I watch the film inspired from it, then there would be a worrying amount of brilliant books I shouldn’t read – and I’m not quite sure I could stand that.
I was taking my walk in the bookshop, absent-minded and blissfully lost in a world of my own, when I spotted David Nicholls’ ‘One Day’ on the shelf.
I decided that it was time to give it a chance, break the curse of the ‘already-watched’ book and simply meet some old friends who I’ve seen for a couple of hours in the past and who now came back to me, just in a slightly different form.
I was doubtful it would be a pleasant reunion. Every twist and turn had already been revealed and it promised to be like meeting again a couple of old boring friends with nothing left to say, but the same old jokes and the same old stories.
As I started reading the first page, I actually wondered why I was doing it. After a couple of pages, I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.
This is the story of Dexter and Emma, two very different people, soul mates and yet friends. Dex and Em, Em and Dex. They are two halves of the same apple.
After her brilliant graduation, Emma is an idealist and wants to become a writer, change the world. Except she gets stuck in a mexican restaurant with no great prospects.
Dexter, on the other hand, is a wealthy boy who soon finds a place in the show-biz, becoming, if not famous, at least notorious. Skipping from a girl to another, his friendship with Emma is the only secure harbour, the one who keeps him grounded. At least for the moment.
In twenty years, we see them grow up, change and evolve. One year at a time. Maybe in different places, with different people, but never truly apart.
In this book, David Nicholls dives so deep inside Em and Dex; he displays us their inner side, so clearly that they quit being fictional character and become something more. They come to life and evolve in front of you, page after page, year after year. From young graduates to fully grown people, all through trouble and nightmares, bliss and joy.
Silly me, I should say. All this time I was overlooking the beauty of the journey, too concerned about how I would get to the end of it. So I have to thank David Nicholls for reminding me what’s important.
I’d already watched the movie. I already knew the story. I’d already figured every twist and turn. Yet, at the end, Em and Dex were able to bring a tear to my eyes, once more.
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