The Hollywood-ready latest from Nicholls (The Understudy) makes a brief pit stop in book form before its inevitable film adaptation. (It's already in development.) The episodic story takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. Dexter, the louche public school boy, and Emma, the brainy Yorkshire lass, meet the day they graduate from university in 1988 and run circles around one another for the next 20 years. Dex becomes a TV presenter whose life of sex, booze, and drugs spins out of control, while Em dully slogs her way through awful jobs before becoming the author of young adult books. They each take other lovers and spouses, but they cannot really live without each other. Nicholls is a glib, clever writer, and while the formulaic feel and maudlin ending aren't ideal for a book, they'll play in the multiplex.- Publishers WeeklyMy bookclub picked this book for February due to the focus on a romantic relationship. When the book was initially described to me, I thought the concept of following a couple throughout many years but just focusing on one specific day was an unique premise.
It was hard to relate to the Emma and Dexter. I found myself loving them one chapter and being bored by them in the next chapter. The book definitely reads well and I can see how Nicholls is compared to Nick Hornby. In a way, each chapter was like an episode of a soap opera, but not as far fetched as a soap opera plot.
When the significance of the day highlighted throughout the book is revealed, I was shocked (actually reacted with a sharp intake of breath). I did find myself guessing what the significance of the day was as I read through the book. In fact trying to figure out the mystery might have pushed me through this book.
This book was a good read and I'm curious to see how the book adapts to the big screen.