I can probably count on my fingers the number of books that I have ever reread. And I would say that most of them were books that I read at school and only realised with age that I maybe didn’t appreciate them quite as I should. But this January, I decided that I would go back and reread some of my favourite comfort reads. January is always such a gloomy month and always by far the longest, what better way to cheer it up than by losing myself in some old favourites?
I didn’t have to think very long about what the first book would be. One Day by David Nicholls. I actually had to go out and buy myself another copy though as my original was long gone. It was one of those books that I just couldn’t wait to pass on to a friend because I loved it so much and needed to share it in a oh-my-godfathers-you-have-to-read-this-book-right-now kind of way. The first time around I remember reading it in a frenzied turning of pages. I just couldn’t put it down. But this time I purposely took my time to devour each and every page while falling in love with Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley all over again. Dex and Em. Em and Dex.
One Day follows the ups and downs of life over twenty years but for me this is no ordinary book. We get to see a snapshot of one day each year since they met on St Swithin’s Day. I suppose the concept could be seen as contrived but actually it’s utterly absorbing. I’ve never loved two characters as much in my life.
This is a book that makes me laugh and cry but at the heart of it all, it is a tragic love story. It got me thinking how in real life the whole happy ever after thing is working out just fine thankyouverymuch but I am actually drawn to love stories with a side order of tragedy. Off the top of my head: Romeo and Juliet, The Proposal, Me Before You, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Wuthering Heights. As a side note, Wuthering Heights was bumped up my to be reread list. I just couldn’t resist after all of the references made to it in One Day. I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul! Sigh. But I digress. Having read and loved One Day the second time around, I can honestly say that it wouldn’t be the love story that it was without the tragedy. And without wanting to give anything away, the tragedy is far from being the end of Dexter and Emma’s story. In fact, the story ends where it all began and it couldn’t be more fitting.
If you haven’t read One Day though, please promise me that you will. Or if you saw the godawful film version then please don’t be put off, read it anyway. (I must confess that I watched mere minutes of the film before giving up, the terrible accent was too much to bear. Besides, how could any film live up to such an incredible book? But I think that might be a whole new post in itself.) David Nicholls is pretty Marmite in my circle of friends though there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. People love or hate his books. I’m firmly in the love camp as you might have guessed and I just wish that his books weren’t so few and far in between. One Day for me though really was exceptional. Most definitely one of my all time favourite books.