Format: Audible audiobook, narrated by Julian Rhind Tutt
Published: First published April 13, 2004
Back cover blurb:
‘I can imagine you at forty,’ she said, a hint of malice in her voice. ‘I can picture it right now.’
He smiled without opening his eyes. ‘Go on then.’
15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.
So where will they be on this one day next year?
And the year after that? And every year that follows?
Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.
Wow. This is a great premise: we meet Dexter and Emma hooking up on the day after their university graduation on July 15, 1988 and catch up with them every July 15th for the next 20 years. Dex is a bit of a dick, but is funny in a very Hugh Grant kind of way, while Em is earnest in that way young women who protested about the Poll Tax/Nicaragua/the UK involvement in Iraq often are.
Over the years they fall out of friendship, come back together in the hard times, but it is clear how much they love each other, despite their “just best friends” denials. One of my favourite parts was when Dex writes to Em from India about how much he dislikes the book Howard’s End, which she gave him to read on the trip, and then he invites her to join him because “call me sentimental, but there’s no-one in the world that I’d like to see get dysentery more than you”. What happens to Howard’s End and the letter is heart-breaking, but not as much as what is to come.
One of the things about only capturing one day a year means that many monumental things happen “off-camera” and it is the reader’s job to work out what has gone on. I enjoyed this, but felt saddened by it too, particularly when we see a high Dex arguing with his sick mother and then the next year he notes something as being what his mother would have said “if she were still alive”.
The cover has recommendations from Nick Hornby (the book is very much like his style) and Marian Keyes, who describes it as “incredibly moving”. It certainly is, although I feel a kind of peace about how it ended. Not exactly a happy-ever-after, but Dex really redeemed himself and Em knew in the end that he really did love her.
This is being made into a movie with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. It will make a great movie, but I’m not sure about that casting. Will I go see it? Probably. Will I cry? Almost certainly.
My rating: 4/5