Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I have mentioned in the past (specifically with Marisa de los Santos' books) the desire to wrap myself up in a story as if it were a favorite comfy blanky. Some books provoke this feeling - they are somehow familiar, and warm, and so enjoyable you don't want them to end. I'm planting my flag on another.
I know I'll sound trite by saying this (and I'm certainly not the first to say it), but the plot is somewhat reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally. A man and a woman with a friendship that spans decades of lovers, career changes, successes and heartbreaks, an accidental sexual encounter or two with each other, and the knowledge that they absolutely MUST end up together. Throw in some clever British wit. Stir in a little "Same Time Next Year" (great movie, trust me if you haven't seen it, Google it). One Day is the result.
The book follows Emma and Dexter from the day after their college graduation (where they had a one-night tryst but recognized in each other a best friend) through the next twenty years of their lives. Each chapter provides a snapshot of each year on July 15th (St. Swithin's Day). There is an ebb and flow cycle between them...relationships come and go, careers come and go, they each struggle through various crises in their lives, but their friendship endures. We pray for the day they allow themselves to freely fall in love with each other.
I've heard people speak unkindly about this novel, and that breaks my heart. Does it have to end predictably? Does it have to be the second coming of literature? It is so refreshingly human. We love Emma and Dexter, for all their faults, whether it is Emma's fear of chasing her dreams or Dexter's self-absorbed tendency to indulge in drink and women. We know they are good people, and we love who they are when they are together. The dialogue is also very clever and snappy, and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious. From there, we wander into weepy and reflective territory. But above all, this is a testament to friendship, about believing in each other no matter how many bad mistakes are made, no matter how obnoxious the behaviour, no matter how weak the will.
The story begs for the silver screen, and someone in Hollywood has obliged. Slated for a third quarter 2011 release, it will star Anne Hathaway (not a fan, sorry) and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe). I've found a picture of Hathaway on the set of the movie. What do you think? Time will tell if they'll get it right, but if they don't, this will be a massively missed opportunity. In the meantime, readers, friends, read this book. Now.
5 out of 5 stars