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One Day by David Nicholls


Today I am writing about one of my most favorite book of all, One Day. It is a romantic novel written by David Nicholls in 2009 based on the lives of two protagonists, Dexter and Emma, on 15th of July, St. Swithin's Day, back to back for twenty years. I read this novel two years ago and loved every piece of it. Later I find out that the novel has been adapted for movie as well and watched it too. This is the first time I am writing about any novel or I can say a book. I hope you guys like it too as much as I liked it. It is, as Tony Parsons aptly puts it, “a brilliant book about the heartbreaking gap between the way we were and the way we are”.


First of all a little summary, In the beginning of the novel, Dexter and Emma spend their graduation together. They talked about their future when they will be forty and how will they look and here started their friendship. They do not involve romantically in each other. Emma's passion was to write plays while Dexter's idea of live is to have fun, make love, drink and travel around the World. Emma didn't succeed in her dreams and ended up becoming a waitress at a Tex-Mex restaurant, in Kettish town in London. However Dexter became a successful TV star. 

While they both loved each other but none of them accepted it.They had relationships with other people and stayed best friends. Later, Emma broke up with her boyfriend, Ian, realizing she will never love him and found a job as a teacher. Dexter meanwhile became a drinking and drug addict and ruined his career. The friendship between the two started to fall apart because of Dexter's selfishness towards Emma. After being treated rudely by Dexter at a restaurant, Emma broke up the friendship.

Emma and Dexter happened to meet again at a former friends wedding. Emma admitted that she wants Dexter back. Dexter has fallen in love with another woman, Sylvie, who is pregnant with his chld. At this reunion, Dexter invited Emma to his wedding. Emma broken hearted-ly agreed to attend his wedding.

Emma overcame her problems and began to write, while Dexter is unemployed and overwhelmed by his role as a father after his divorce from Sylvie, who was having an affair. Emma went to Paris to write a sequel to her first successful children's novel. When Dexter visited her and came to know that she has met someone and who she really liked a lot. This is when Dexter finally admitted his feelings for her. Emma ditched that guy and chose Dexter.

Emma and Dexter get married and are happy together. Dexter opened a deli-cafe and started working their. Emma wanted to have their child to which they started trying but get frustrated by the failing attempts that led them to a little argument on the anniversary of the day they met after graduation and the day they got together. However they both handled it well and went off to their works. Emma and Dexter have an appointment to see a house. Emma realized her harshness towards Dexter and send him a voice mail to tell that she is on her way and that she loves him, soon after she had a bike accident and died. 

Depressed Dexter started to drink again and is in dismay on her death. His ex-wife Sylvie, his father and his daughter tried to comfort him and suggested him to move on with his life. In the end, he traveled  to Edinburgh where he and Emma met and climbed the same hill that Emma and Dexter climbed 19 years ago with his daughter.

The book ended with a vivid and lingering memory of what happened after that stay together 20 years before, their promise to stay in touch their goodbye kiss.

The reason why this story touched my heart is probably because that it exhibits the truth about our lives as well. We know how temporary this life is and still most of the times we fail to realize the importance of our loved ones. We live with them, we laugh together, we care for each other but still somehow we fail to show our love. Or is it because we are afraid of getting too closed and never having them? Or maybe we thought we are never going to lose them? Or maybe because we never realized that what we have right now is exactly what we need for the rest of our life to stay happy? As Nicholls said, “You can live your whole life not realizing that what you're looking for is right in front of you.” I don't know. All I know is that Dexter always loved Emma and he actually showed it many times, he cared for her and stayed in touch with her but still he wasted many years of his life falling for wrong girls, living fake loves and when in the end he realized how much she mattered to him, she died. They could have been together all this time if they have admitted their feelings in the beginning. No? But then again this is life. “So - whatever happened to you?' 'Life. Life happened.” 

Though I loved the fact that no matter how rude or selfish or inconsistent Dexter was towards Emma, she never stopped loving him. Even when she broke up with him, her words were, “Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will. I just don't like you anymore. I'm sorry.”  Then on their reunion at their friends' wedding, when he told her that he is getting married and expecting his first baby. She was so heart broken yet she still handled her well. I loved the moment they shared together and how beautiful Nicholls penned it down. They were drunk, a little emotional and a lot in love. Read it yourself,

“Sylvie's sort of pregnant. Well not sort of. She is. Pregnant. Actually pregnant with a baby.'
'Oh Dexter! Do you know the father? I'm kidding! Congratulations, Dex. God, aren't you meant to space your bombshells out a bit. Not just drop them all at once?'
She held his face in both hands, looked at it.
'You're getting married?-'
'Yes'
-'And you're going to be a father?'
'I know! Fuck me a father!'
'Is that allowed? I mean will they let you?'
'Apparently'
'I think it's wonderful. Fucking hell, Dexter, I turn my back for one minute...!'
She hugged him once again her arms high round his neck. She felt drunk, full of affection and a certain sadness too, as if something was coming to an end. She wanted to say something along these lines, but thought it best to do this through a joke.
'Of course you've destroyed any chance I had of future happiness, but I'm delighted for you, really.” 

Emma: “Can I say something?'
Dexter: 'Go on'
Emma: 'I'm a little drunk'
Dexter: 'Me too. That's okay.'
Emma: 'Just....I missed you, you know.'
Dexter: 'I missed you too.'
'Emma: But so, so much, Dexter. There were so many things I wanted to talk to you about, and you weren't there-'
'same here.'
Emma:'I tell you what it is. It's.....When I didn't see you, I thought about you every day, I mean EVERY DAY in some way or another-'
Dexter: 'same here.'
Emma:'-Even if it was just "I wish Dexter could see this" or "Where's Dexter now?" or "Christ that Dexter, what an idiot", you know what I mean, and seeing you today, well, I thought I'd got you back - my BEST friend. And now all this, the wedding, the baby- I'm so happy for you, Dex, but it feels like I've lost you again.'-

Emma: -'You know what happens you have a family, your responsibilities change, you lose touch with people'
Dexter: 'It won't be like that, I promise.'
Emma: 'Do you?'
Dexter: 'Absolutely'
Dexter: 'You swear? No more disappearing?'
Emma: 'I won't if you won't.'
Their lips touched now, mouths pursed tight, their eyes open, both of them stock still. The moment held, a kind of glorious confusion.” 

He didn't choose her. He got married, turned out it too didn't work for him well and ended up with divorce. He came back to her, She is currently dating someone and for the first time she actually likes this guy. He expressed his feelings and accepted his love for her. He left. And again, she chose him. Knowing how inconsistent he is. Aware of the fact that he didn't choose her before. Still. She chose him. Ran for him and they are together. It was this easy, no? This time he too made her happy. He didn't leave. He loved her with all of his love. What happens next? They are happy and so in love. It must be a good ending. But no, she died. It ended. Just like that. There, I realized, this is exactly what Emma said, “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it” They had today and they lived it together, happy, so in love. And he always cherished it. He remembered her. In the end, when he was climbing the hill with his daughter, the same hill he climbed 19 years before with Emma, he remembered her. He told his daughter about her and how much he loved his best friend.
Daughter: “Do you miss her?'
Dexter: 'Who? Emma? Of course. Every day. She was my best friend.” 


Author literally amazed me when in the end of the book Emma's ex boyfriend visited his cafe and told him about his jealousy for how much Emma loved Dexter. He hugged Dexter while saying,

“She made you decent, and in return you made her so happy. And I will always be grateful to you for that.” 

Back in the times while struggling with Dexter's inconsistency, non-seriousness and careless attitude, Nicholls projected Emma tired, “She was reaching the limits of how much its possible to change a man”. 

But after reading this conversation I realized Emma didn't fail. She actually won. I guess this is how Nicholls punched the essence of the strength of love and consistency. Emma's love and persistent attitude towards Dexter finally changed him. She made him decent. What she once thought impossible was his reality now. However she had gone but she was still there. In his memories, decency, his spirit of living a purposeful happy life and obviously in his love.

I'll End this post with one of my most favorite dialogues between them.

“And then she frowned, and shook her head, then put her arms around him once more, pressing her face into his shoulder, making a noise that sounded almost like rage.
'What's up?' he asked.
'Nothing. Oh, nothing. Just...' She looked up at him. 'I thought I'd finally got rid of you.'
'I don't think you can.' he said” 

I will be sharing its quotes in my next post. Till then have a good time. Do not take anything for granted, keep showering love. Be kind and stay happy. Cheers! 

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