One Day was one of Amazon.ca's Best Books of 2010. That and its unique (to me, anyway) premise drew me in. Dexter and Emma meet on the day of their graduation in 1988. They spend the night together and go their separate ways, but that one night forges a lasting connection. Each chapter of the book gives us a snapshot of their lives on that same date for the next twenty years. Sometimes their paths intersect, sometimes they drift apart again, but they are never far from each other's thoughts.
I didn't get into the book right away; it took a while to warm up to the characters, especially Dexter. By the end of the second chapter, though, I was hooked. There were times when the book got a bit repetitive but it never dragged. There were many occasions where I didn't want to put it down. The ending was completely unexpected, too. I had to restrain myself from yelling "What?!" and only kept silent because my husband was asleep next to me at the time.
While I never did completely come around to liking Dexter, I did connect with Emma's character.Early on, Dexter accuses her of staying in a miserable job because she is scared to be happy; the crap job is easier. She stays in a less than satisfying relationship for similar reasons. I could relate to that and couldn't help but root for her as she developed the confidence to do what she needed to do.
The structure keeps things interesting. We only get to see Dexter and Emma one day a year, leaving us to read between the lines to figure out what happpened in the past year to lead them to their current point. I always respect an author who can show, rather than just tell.
One of my Reading Bingo goals for the month was to hit a new square. I think One Day is perfect for the "book you would have picked up as a teenager" category. I would have been all over this back then, thinking it the epitome of romance. Dexter wouldn't have been nearly as arrogant, immature, and selfish to me back then. No, he would have been misunderstood and Emma the one meant to save him because back then, I was naive enough to believe it was that simple. I would have liked the book just as much, but probably for different reasons than I do now.
This was a very good read. I gave it 4/5 for the slow start and for Dexter's character not being quite as developed as he could have been.
My husband I are planning to watch the movie this weekend. I think the trailer captures the spirit of the book pretty well, if you can get past Anne Hathaway's terrible accent: