Sunday, 20 September 2009

What if maybe?

A Life Less Ordinary

That pivotal moment in life where you take one path and someone else takes another is often a make or break situation. Without any contact details, you may never cross paths again. Nowadays it is much easier to find the lost ones on Facebook or Myspace if you didn’t secure a phone number or address, though even addresses are temporary. Believe it or not there are still people out there who don’t have a “page” with boring information about themselves on it. There are people who have no contact with social networking sites. There are people who don’t have a blog. I know it’s hard to consider that some people know their lives are not worth documenting on the internet. The rest of us either know this and don’t care or worse; actually think we are worth reading about!

Twenty Years, Two People, One Day

The book One Day documents twenty years of a boy and a girl's life who met and shared a few kisses, and maybe more, on the night of their Graduation from an Edinburgh University. Only to be flung out of each others lives and on to the road of their own lives the very next day. The book is written by David Nicholls who also wrote the novel ‘Starter for 10’ which was recently visualised into a film starring James McAvoy. In the novel One Day, the lead characters, wealthy womaniser Dexter and social conscious and opinionated Emma manage to keep in contact by various letters where Emma’s thoughts on life/politics/books spill out and fill pages and Dexter manages a few lines in reply here and there as he fumbles through his gap year(s). This is of course the 1980s before the communication revolution, no texting or emailing, can you remember that far back?

Each chapter begins on the same date of every year following their quick meeting and then subsequent departure on the 15th July 1988 and as their lives unfold through the pages, the reader can relate to almost everything that happens in some way or another. No thoughts to the future in their twenties, like most, Dexter becomes completely hedonistic and does whatever he wants, even at the expense of losing his family and friends’ respect. This results in various bad habits and a career in TV that nosedives as quickly as it happened. Emma becomes lost, with no idea of what she wants to do with her life and only dreams of being a writer. She gets stuck in an unhappy state of mind relentlessly doing a job she hates until she has the courage to make some life changing decisions.

Sometimes it is almost too true to real life so that it makes you cringe but the book is a refreshing look at two people who grow up with each other in mind and what can happen to these people through time. Many parts of the book are set in London and it is great picturing where they’re living and what they’re seeing in their two different worlds. By the end of the book, you end up feeling great empathy and sympathy for the characters; they represent people in our lives we know or have known. This book has an unexpected ending and you feel as if you've lived through their twenty years. In fact you might need a nap at the end, I was exhausted, life is complicated!

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