Thursday, 10 November 2016

One Day ; again .

Recently, I did something I hardly ever do. In fact, I believe I've only done it in one other instance...and that was when I was at school, reading books under my desk during lessons. Okay, here's the thing. The thing I never do...I re-read a book
Not just any book, mind you. A special one, to me. 
That's right, I finally did it. I finally re-read 'One Day'.



I've said I will for years, verbally and in posts before this one. But there's always been something else that's needed reading. Piles of TBR and more new releases arriving in the store and in the post - I had to properly ignore all that and take this on. It was time. 

My ancient and properly battered but well-loved copy of the book was no doubt delighted when I scooped it up again, finally, and committed to the story once more. Emma and Dexter are so close to my heart, I adore them so much – it's true what Jonathan Coe said, quoted on the back cover, that these characters become so familiar to you it's as if they're your closest friends. 



I related to this book even more now than I did before, when I read it in 2013 on holiday with my best friend, who I'd just met at uni, and his excellent family. Last time I was lapping it up sitting poolside with cocktails between games of Scrabble, excited to start my second year of uni; this time I devoured it on trains to and from London and on my breaks at work, as a graduate in possession of a ton more life experience. 

The chapters about graduate struggles, old friends inviting you to their weddings or just slipping away from you...they got me so much more this time round. 

Also I actually appreciated the mentions of London locations – before they were just scene settings, interesting spots I had heard of maybe in passing but never actually been to, whereas now I could safely say I'd been to almost every little suburb or street or at least zoomed through them on the tube once or twice. I could imagine Dexter's bachelor pad in Belsize Park and I followed him through the lanes of Soho laughing at his ridiculous headphones; I liked to think Emma's sensible home (with the man she didn't want) in Leytonstone was just a stone's throw from that cafe I love so much there, and I swear at times I could smell the terrible restaurant she worked in on the rough side of Camden Town. It all felt so familiar, and not just because I'd read it before, but because I have kind of lived it, albeit in a very different way. 



I also felt a different theme, or message perhaps, jumping out at me as I re-read. Before, all I could hear as I was told the story of Em and Dex, Dex and Em, was that you mustn't give up on something as unique and wonderful as love with a beautiful and maddening history to it. And there's no love quite like the love between best friends. 
And this time? I discovered that life will take you down unexpected routes and through some really tough tracks, you may find yourself hundreds of miles from where you'd expected to be...but that is all part of the journey. 


I'm glad I re-read this book at this time. When I first read it, I was just 19 and I knew next to nothing about life – and love. Now, I'm 23 and I like to think I have more of a grip on both those things – although I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go in both. I have vowed to myself that over the years I will continue to re-read 'One Day', maybe whenever I feel a distinct change taking place in my life or just need reminding of what's important and what's really not. Maybe next time I re-read it, I'll be in a different place in every sense of the term. Maybe I'll have my own home, my career path laid out more clearly and a few stamps on my passport. Maybe there will be someone sharing a bed with me. Maybe not. I cannot see that far ahead – and isn't that exciting? All I know is I'll still want to read this book. 



1 comment

  1. I'm so guilty of re-reading books. Probably because I like to know how things are going to turn out, so I find it quite comforting. I think I read this for the first time around the same age as you did, and I've still only read this one the once! Maybe it's about time I give it another read. x

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