The book's blurb states that 'you can live your whole life not realising that what you're looking for is right in front of you,' and to me, this not only reflects Emma and Dexter's relationship, but so many other relationships in this world. What is romantic and yet so frustrating to read is the fact that at the same time, Emma and Dexter both have a secret longing for one another and yet due to the differences in their lifestyles and of course, their equally stubborn nature, they simply remain best friends and nothing more. So many romantic novels nowadays are very clichéd and present romance in an abnormally idealistic way, however, Nicholls successfully portrays a realistic relationship that isn't a fairytale and starts of as many relationships in the real world do- by two people liking each other but being too afraid to do anything about it.
Moreover, Nicholls makes it very easy for the reader to become emotionally connected to the characters, particularly in instances where they are going through times of difficulty and sadness. I have to admit, I often find myself struggling to form attachments to characters when a novel is written in the third person as opposed to the first. Nevertheless, when Nicholls explores the perspectives of Emma and Dexter, he adapts his writing style to suit the character so that their voice comes across strongly, as they both are completely different in their nature and perspective of the world, as well as allowing the reader to distinguish between characters. I have to admit, there were numerous times when reading One Day that the character of Dexter Mayhew made me cringe with his attitude to women, but as the novel progressed, I understood Nicholls' intentions with the character and ironically, as Dexter started to struggle more in his life, I also began to like him more.
To me, One Day is a beautifully written book and really highlights the complexity of adult relationships and how people can themselves act as obstacles in their own romantic lives. Whilst romance is obviously a major aspect of the novel, Nicholls develops many other themes, particularly the theme of the harsh difficulty of growing up which at first, is portrayed through Emma when she longs to be an author but finds herself working at Tex-Mex. However, it is only when Dexter experiences the lows of his career that he finds himself trying to grow up, and Nicholls equally presents the challenges of adult responsibility and conforming to the social norms of society.
Another way in which that I LOVE Nicholls' writing style is his manipulation of two very popular and, yes, possibly overused techniques in the history of literature. Repetition and flashbacks. I can't bring myself to ruin a certain aspect of the novel for you, readers, but what I will say is that Nicholls has managed to find a balance of using repetition and flashbacks so that the reader is captivated, but not so that it becomes worryingly clichéd and a bit of a 'let's get the sick bag' romance novel.
As you can probably tell, I have nothing to criticise in terms of Nicholls writing of One Day and this book as inspired me so much as a developing writer. BUT, if you are yet to read the book, I must warn you of something. Whatever you do, please don't watch the film first. I loved the major motion picture of 'One Day,' but as I read the book, I was always anticipating what was going to happen, therefore meaning that certain chapters didn't have their desired impact. Nevertheless I really loved the book and blubbed like a baby, but I would have genuinely blubbed even more if I hadn't been waiting for things to happen as they did in the film and if I'd have instead been
One Day will make you laugh, sob and most importantly, stay in your mind as something more than just a romantic novel. Once you begin reading about Emma and Dexter, you will find that you slowly lose a sense of time and reality and become lost in their world of a friendship with the potential to be so much more. I read One Day in an eight hour sitting and the only time that I was thoroughly disappointed was when the book ended. Why was this? Perhaps because I could relate so much to Emma's character? Or maybe it was my growing liking for Dexter's character as he got older and became less of a boozy womaniser? Either way, I can't stress enough how much I would recommend this book to you as such a perceptive, moving and poignant story that, if I'm honest, I wish I had written! One Day has been described by The Daily Mirror as a novel 'destined to be a modern classic' and I think myself as very lucky to have been able to read such a moving novel that I believe, will be read one day by millions of people for many more years to come.