A wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad ... the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe’s What a Carve Up! ... Nicholls’s witty prose has a transparency that brings Nick Hornby to mind: it melts as you read it so that you don’t notice all the hard work that it’s doing.
With a nod to When Harry Met Sally, this funny, emotionally engaging third novel from David Nicholls traces the unlikely relationship between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew.... Told with toe-curlingly accurate insight and touching observation.... If you left college sometime in the eighties with no clear idea of what was going to happen next, or who your lifelong friends might turn out to be, this one’s a definite for your holiday suitcase. If you didn’t, it still is.... The feel good film must surely be just around the corner. I can’t wait.
Daily Mail (UK)
Just as Nicholls has made full use of his central concept, so he has drawn on all his comic and literary gifts to produce a novel that is not only roaringly funny but also memorable, moving and, in its own unassuming, unpretentious way, rather profound.
Nicholls captures superbly the ennui of post graduation.... The writing is almost faultless, there’s a great feeling for the period and it’s eminently readable.
Will Dex and Emma get together before it's too late? Will they ever act on the lone un-self-conscious thought Emma has been able to hold in her head since the day she walked away from Dexter, when she was 22 and he was 23, as his parents drove him home from college into his still unblemished future? "Love and be loved," she had told herself, "if you ever get the chance." It's something you may want to find out this summer at poolside. And if you do, you may want to take care where you lay this book down. You may not be the only one who wants in on the answers.
Lisa Schillinger - New York Times
The Hollywood-ready latest from Nicholls (The Understudy) makes a brief pit stop in book form before its inevitable film adaptation (in 2011). 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 college 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. Nicholls is a glib, clever writer, and while the formulaic feel and maudlin ending aren't ideal for a book, they'll play in the multiplex.
Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew get together (almost) following their graduation in 1988. We catch up with them annually on July 15, St. Swithin's Day, the British equivalent of Groundhog Day but with rain. Here, it's a prognosticator of how their lives are turning out. She's been in love with Dex for years, while he's been in bed with more women than we can count. He gets a job in "media" as a late-night TV presenter on music/rock star interview shows. She works at a crappy Mexican restaurant before altering course and becoming a teacher. Do they eventually find their way back to each other? Nicholls (The Understudy) doesn't take the easy route, throwing lots of relationships and obstacles in our protagonists' paths. Verdict: This tale of youthful dreams coming true and perhaps not being so dreamy is written with great verve and charm, reminiscent of the works of Mike Gayle. A coming-of-age story for all of us who might still be wondering what we want to be when we grow up. —Bette-Lee Fox
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