Author: David Nicholls
It is St. Swithin's Day (July 15th) 1988, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew have just met after graduating from Edinburgh University. They are young, idealistic, on the cusp of adulthood and they've just had a one-night-stand. Dexter Morely is wealthy, impossibly handsome and a bit of a playboy. Emma is a shy bookish girl from Yorkshire who isn't so wealthy. After their one night together, the two young people decide to remain friends. Always on that same day, July 15th, snippets of Emma and Dexter's friendship are captured over a course of 20 years. Their dreams, failures, success, tragedies and even the mundane are revealed as they try to navigate through life and love. Through Emma and Dexter's long relationship, you learn that love doesn't always come wrapped up in a pretty bow.
Where do I begin? Well, I definitely enjoyed this book. I became very endeared to Emma Morley because she reminded me so much of myself: bookish, shy, useless degree, under paying jobs, pinning after a boy who doesn't really deserve that much of my attention. I felt as if Nicholls took (several) pages out of my book when it came to Emma. On the other hand, for the majority of the book I despised Dexter. He was pretty much obnoxious (think of every Hugh Grant character, particularly Daniel Clever in Bridget Jones's Diary, rolled into one without that boyish charm and you have Dexter Mayhew) throughout the entire book except for the last 30 or so pages when he finally becomes a tolerable human being.
But despite Dexter's short comings as a friend and love interest, their relationship was very real. Nicholls didn't depict it as a larger than life romance with a dashing leading man and tragic heroine. It was refreshing to see two "normal" people tripping their way through life and the scheme of using that single day tied it all in very well. This was not a pretty little romance where the characters go riding off into the sunset together. It was funny, real, sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, full of missed opportunities, regrets and mistakes.
I would definitely recommend this book.