It seems like all I do lately is apologise for silences of one type or another! I do apologise for this one though, I was away at the weekend, and got back later than I thought I would, and then yesterday came and went without me being able to think of an attractive man to share with you all. All will be well from now on though, I won’t disappear again without letting you know first!
It’s time for my weekly post then, and I found a WordPress prompt that I liked this week. At least, I found one that I am going to adapt to my own purposes! It’s topic #68:
Name a Book that Changed Your Life
I don’t know that a book has ever really changed my life. There are books that I have read (and re-read), that I love and adore, and I am glad that they are a part of my life. But I’m not sure that any books have ever really changed my life, in a meaningful way. But I read a book this weekend that I enjoyed so much, and I want everyone else to read it (if they haven’t already, it’s been out for almost two years).
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One Day is a novel by David Nicholls. You may recall from my post about the launch of World Book Night that I saw David Nicholls reading from this book in Trafalgar Square, as it is one of the 25 books that were being given away. You may also recall that I won a book on Twitter, and that this was the book that I got.
Without giving too much away, One Day is about two people, Emma and Dexter, who meet on the day of their graduation from university, on 15th July 1988. The book then catches up with them on the same day for the next 20 years. Emma and Dexter clearly have feelings for each other, but settle into a close friendship that lasts for almost the entire novel. Relationships come and go but Emma and Dexter remain friends for the most part, and you’ll have to read it to find out if they end up together!
The thing that makes the book stand out is the use of one day a year to tell a story. It means that quite often, we don’t get to see firsthand what happens to the characters. For example, in 1989, Dexter’s mum tells him that she has something she needs to talk to him about, and while we might guess what it is she needs to say, we don’t hear her say it, and we don’t actually find out what it was until 1993. We don’t see weddings, deaths, births, major life events, because none of them take place on 15th July, so we have to hear about them later. It doesn’t seem as though it should work, how are we going to care about these characters if we don’t see them experiencing their highs and their lows. But it really, really does work. It works so well.
There is almost an element of missed opportunities to the story too – Dexter writes Emma a letter from Bombay telling her that she needs to get out of the rut that she has found herself in since she left university, and invites her to join him in India. However, the letter never reaches her, and she doesn’t go to India. You wonder how different both their lives would have been if she had, as you read the book, but you come to realise that it would possibly have actually been Dexter’s life that would have been changed for the better had the letter reached her, as their trajectories start moving in completely opposite directions once Emma realises what she wants to do with her life.
One Day is currently getting the Hollywood treatment, with a film adapation set to be released in September of this year. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are taking on the lead roles, and I have high hopes.
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There are many reasons why I think that this should be a great adaptation of a great book.
1. David Nicholls has written the screenplay.
2. Anne Hathaway is a very watchable actress.
3. The location has not been changed to America, as happens so often with book adaptations.
4. Lone Scherfig is directing, and whilst I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard lots of good things about An Education.
5. The source material is so good to begin with, how can they go wrong?
OK, so I know that the last point is questionable, because let’s face it, there have been many bad films that have come from great books. But I really do feel that this is going to be great. I was checking IMDB to see who was going to be playing the other parts, and unwisely, I decided to take a look at the message boards. Message boards and comments sections are usually places to be avoided, as far as I am concerned, simply because I so often disagree with what people are saying, and I hate the way people choose to express their opinions. I don’t know why I decided to look at them this time, but I did, and unsurprisingly, I got irritated! People are worried that Anne Hathaway won’t do the role of Emma justice, and more than that, they are worried that she won’t have a Yorkshire accent. Firstly, there is no reason to suggest that she won’t have a Yorkshire accent, as we’ve seen no footage of the film yet. Secondly, Emma loses her accent as the story goes on, as she lives outside of Yorkshire for longer than she lives there, and someone even comments on the change. And thirdly, her having a regional accent is not particularly important, as far as I am concerned. Admittedly, it is used to show a class divide between Emma and Dexter; she comes from a working class background whilst his is much more middle class. But she doesn’t have to be from Yorkshire in order for that to come across. I think people concentrate too much on the little things, especially before the film has even come out, when it needs to be judged as a whole. And frankly, if a film adaptation of your favourite book is disappointing (which let’s face it, they often are because we have such a vivid image in our head of each and every character and location), forget the film and read the book again. I can’t understand people who are so offended by book adaptations when the book is still available for them to read! It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine, and I will wax lyrical about it to almost anyone who will listen!
Also, if you fancy it, David Nicholls has created a Spotify playlist of Emma’s mix tape that she makes for Dexter. Check it out!
So, One Day is a book that didn’t change my life, but has certainly afforded me a lot of pleasure over the last few days, and one that I would heartily recommend to everyone!
Until next time