Part of me really enjoyed One Day, the other part found it average, hence the 3 stars.
The characterisation was very good, and that was a big plus for the novel. I expected it to be very weak, considering it was only one day every year we were seeing the characters, but David Nicholls got really deep into the characters and their motivations, and didn't make it a typical, idyllic love story. I expected Emma and Dexter to get together after say the first 2 years, and then it would tell the story of their relationship. Instead, it focused far heavily on their friendship, meaning we only got a few years of their relationship (and marriage) at the end. This worked to the novels favour. It moved itself away from the typical romance books, and focused far heavier on the characters, as individuals and friends, rather than partners. Emma reminded me very much of myself, something that worries me slightly, concerning her future from when she graduated from University in 1988. She, like me, likes vintage things, has strong issues on things, and likes books and writing. Dexter is the typical bad boy, middle class rich boy turned party-er and then eventual failure.
I think that's what made me like this book. It wasn't perfect. From the first pages, the characters were identifying each-other's flaws, how their bodies and attitudes weren't perfect. This removed the idyllic romance I was expecting, and made the books far more enjoyable. Emma's failing career, her dreams, Dexter's depression after his mother died, his failure as a TV presenter, and the misfortunes of divorce that many couples now experience. It was real, at times gritty, and it allowed the book to be far more effective.
However, I feel as if it dragged on a lot. Yes, we went through their lives, and it would have been hard to randomly jump to 10 years in advance. However, I felt things got rather slow in the middle, making it hard to pick up and read. While it was an easy read, I wanted it to be a bit more fast paced. Furthermore, the writing was rather simple. I blame my obsession with classics, I just felt like there was something missing regarding the writing. There were sweet repetitions, 'Em and Dex, Dex and Em' being one of my favourites. However, I felt that there lacked a spark in the writing that really would have made this book excellent.
The story is wonderful (although the ending does crush you), and it provides a deep insight into characters. It' not a typical romance, and it plays to its strengths in that respect. It had the potential to be a really amazing book, if the writing was a little more special.