I just finished "One Day" by David Nicholls. This is sorta of a review of the book but also my feelings about the book and MY life, but if you plan on reading the book, do not read my post. SPOILER ALERT.
I can't say I really liked the book. Essentially it is about this guy Dexter and this girl Emma who had this amazing night on graduation night. Each chapter of the book reflects on them a year later on that same day July 15 1988 - 2007. Emma is completely smitten with Dex. Dex likes Emma but well, he is a bit of a partier/player. Emma and Dex's relationship goes all over the place from distant to best friends to periods of their lives they do not speak. Emma is outspoken, sweet, and beautiful in a plain way. Dex is outgoing, cocky, obnoxious, extremely good looking and drunk for most of his life.
As their lives go from their late teens to twenties, you know that Emma is madly in love with Dex but she can't do anything about it. She stands by and watches him in all his relationships with jealousy. She dates this guy Ian for a few years - Ian is a complete loser comedian and you wonder why on Earth she would date a guy like that. But then she comes to her senses and ends that relationship when he wants to marry her. She then has an affair with her married boss that lasts a year or so which ends with her quitting her job. She finally meets someone in Paris that she really likes. And what happens? Dex gets divorced and comes to visit and they get together in their early or mid-thirties.
Dexter, leading up to this point was a TV celebrity and had a few serious girlfriends that he took advantage of. I doubt he ever loved any of his girlfriends but was more attracted to the physical aspect of it all. He finds someone different, someone who is not a celebrity and gets her pregnant after dating about 2 years. He looses his TV job. They wed. They are married for a year and a half and his wife cheats on him with his college roommate. By this point Dex realizes that he could be content being in a monogamous relationship and becoming a good father.
So Dex and Em finally end up together. Both are very happy. They date two years, get married and try to have a child, with no luck. Then, on the day they are looking for a house, she gets ran over on her bike and dies.
If I didn't love the book, why am I blogging about it? I have read so many books and few I blog about. Well, I'll tell you. I fear I am an Emma. I am mostly quiet and reserved with new people. People tell me I am pretty, but I don't see it. I had a love (although more than a day) that was lost but still remained in contact with. For a while even secretly hoped that I would still be with. Dated a few HORRIBLE guys...although I would never date a guy for a year or two that wasn't worthy, so unlike Emma, I didn't have these other long relationships. But I did end up very casually and rarely seeing a married man - who was once MY ex (but in my defense married the girl he cheated on me with 11 years ago). Anyway, I was never in love with him and it was purely recreational the less than 5 times we hung out. So while cheating, it was not an affair. Anyway. I am worried that by the time I finally get my stuff together and find someone I actually like either 1) SI will vie for my love and I will be torn between not knowing what to do or who to choose or 2) something happens (like I die) and not get to enjoy my time finally happy. Ironic yes.
At the end (or really 3 chapters before the end) you ask yourself why did Emma have to die? Why not Dex? Emma was the sweet girl and you are so happy for her finally. Whereas Dex you think, wow he really lucked out that get got Emma. And you even think Dex didn't deserve her. He was a miserable person throughout his life. So did the writer kill Emma because he knew that Dex would have been heartbroken forever or that perhaps to say 'see asshole, you waited so long for her you don't deserve to be happy' or perhaps he knew that Emma might not have been able to move past Dex if he were killed...given her past relationships.
It was an entertaining enough book if you enjoy how relationship evolve. Many books I read are in the short term and most of the time, they life 'happily ever after' but you wonder if they really do. Having a change to see where the characters are over twenty years is slightly refreshing to find out how people build their lives.