Sunday, January 2, 2011


Pages: 435
Date: 02/01/2011
Grade: 4+

When you decide to read a book that has received some serious hype, that everybody appears to be raving about and that's about to be turned into a movie, I suppose there's always the risk of setting yourself up for a disappointment.
This wasn't so much a disappointing experience, as not quite as good as I hoped it would be.
I love the premise of following two people over the course of twenty years by focusing on a single date, year after year. It gives the reader all the information she needs to keep up with the lives of the two main characters, but also keeps the story steadily moving forwards.
I really like that this is basically the story of my generation. The two main characters meet in 1988, when they graduate from university. A year later I graduated myself. But, that's also where one of my personal downfalls of the novel occurs. I don't recognize a lot, if anything, of myself in these two contemporaries.
This is the story of Emma and Dexter, who spend their graduation night, July 15th, and the following day together. Both are really drawn to each other, but Dexter is about to go travelling and that first encounter is over within 24 hours.
Over the subsequent years they stay in touch, sometimes through letters, sometimes face to face, but never losing contact for a long time. They never really get back together either. Although it's clear from their individual stories that they care about each other and probably should be together, jobs, other people, drink, drugs and life in general keep on getting in the way.
While Emma struggles to get herself out of a dead end job, Dexter finds fame as a television personality. But with the fame comes a life-style that isn't very attractive and might well destroy him.
Emma, at the same time, seems to have a hard time allowing herself to be happy, to follow her dreams.
Years later, when it is Dexter who is facing a tough time and Emma seems to have made it they are granted another opportunity at happiness together. But are they really destined to get that?

If I'm honest I have to admit that as much as I got caught up in the story, I really didn't like the main characters very much. I wanted to shake Emma for most of the first part of the book and tell her to kick start her life already. And don't even get me started about Dexter who came across as self-indulgent, selfish and childish in his efforts to sabotage his life. While I could see why Dexter would want Emma in his life, if only to provide stability, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why she stayed so hung up on him.
This book fascinated me, kept me compulsively reading and I did really enjoy it. But, like I said before, it just didn't quite live up to what I hoped it would be.

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