|20 years later [Goodreads]|
And it makes me happy that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's not my typical chick-lit where boy meets girl and all is good but it definitely made me feel something (though not necessarily good feelings). And you all know I'm easy to please so this one was definitely a good read.
We all know I ramble too much so let's leave it to Amazon to give everyone the general plot in case i get lost somewhere between the start and the end and fail to explain things.
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. [Amazon]So let's start off by saying for the first time ever, I wasn't completely in love with the characters of the book. Sure, there are times when I don't quite like a character, but for me, Em and Dex aren't the most likeable characters created. And perhaps this was the point that Nicholls was trying to make, that I don't have to love the characters to like the story they're in and to root for them.
Because honestly, Dex pretty much treats everyone in his life like shit and though he started off successful, his eventual decline, as the years go by, doesn't seem to justify his behavior. Meanwhile, Em, who's been slaving away trying to do good (most of the time), slips and falls into the mistress trap and still somehow gets retribution towards the end.
My point is, these characters are so far off the perfect-little-people route that it was hard for me to understand why the hell I was rooting for them anyway. Until I realized that hey, they're so imperfect and yet perfect together. No matter how shitty they treat each other, they always end up going back to one another just because no one else will understand what they have.
I really do like the way Nicholls revisits them one year later and SO MUCH has happened. It still makes me cry when Dex looks his mom and when his career goes to shit so fast or when Em keeps pining (but not pining) for Dex and tries to be there for him even when he doesn't acknowledge her. At the same time, it made me happy when they did finally get together (despite how brief it all was).
I also happen to feel for the 'other' people in their lives. At least the one's they're with when they're not together. I find Em's description of Ian brutally honest and sometimes hurtful. I get she didn't love love him but why string him along? If she felt so strongly about his meh-ness, it would have been better if she cut him off sooner, right? But I guess she didn't have the heart to or was also afraid of being alone.
At the same time, Dex trying to make things work with Sylvie because of his daughter and well because he was trying to to do the adult thing really showed how he was either a) in denial about everything or b) really wanted a fresh start. It sort of made me laugh when it gets revealed that Sylvie is cheating on him on the side. How much torture can one, get right?
It's nice to see that both Em and Dex get their fair share of ups and downs and still manage to get their quasi-happily ever after. Even Nicholl's cop-out flashback sequences in the end of the book manage to make me go awww even if I'm secretly seething on the inside because really *SPOILER ALERT* You don't kill the lead girl no matter what, dude! I know this isn't some cookie cutter book but after making me wait twenty years, you kill her?!?! *SPOILER END*
Still, I'm glad I did read it if only to enjoy the movie more (I hope). This book made me want to read his other books though. I'll probably check out Starter for Ten and then The Understudy. Then perhaps I can watch the movie of the first book with jamypye. I'm sure she'd like that.
Even More Page Turner:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Bumped by Megan McCafferty