I read this book for two reasons – one, because a few of my lovely writer buddies think it’s the dog’s behind and two, because I want to watch the film having read the book first. While films can never capture the detail and emotion of the novels on which they’re based, I like to start with the original version first. I find it hard to read books when I already know the ending and obviously watching the film would more then give it away. I also wanted to focus on the characters as the author meant them to be, not the allegedly dodgy portrayal of a northern accent by the lovely Anne Hathaway. I’ll make my own judgment when I watch the film.
Having mentioned the book to a work work colleague, she found it just average. Me? I thought it was a fantastic read, about two characters I grew to love and who grew to love each other.
The concept is brilliant… the books tells the story from the viewpoints of Emma and Dex who meet officially (after passing glances) following the night of their graduation; they share a bed, some cigarettes and conversations about how their lives will really begin after university, well off Dex keen on travel and women, incredibly bright Emma a tad daunted by the years ahead.
And then the book skips one year ahead, on the same day, St Swithun’s Day in July. The pair have remained friends, writing letters regularly and sharing a increasingly strong friendship, him a real ladies man, her a bright girl who hasn’t really grown into herself just yet.
And so the book continues, with each chapter on another St Swithun’s Day in another year, and we seen Emma and Dex’s lives unfold, their love interests, their careers, theirs highs and lows, their mistakes, and with one common theme running through – their friendship; they completely get each other.
And so the story spans from early 20s to early 40s, two decades of character development and life-changing events. I knew it was going to be a weepy right from the beginning when a undelivered letter potentially changes the direction of their futures. And at the end, I am indeed sobbing.
It’s a lovely story and while the last chapter – no doubt indended to round the story off just so – doesn’t quite pull itoff for me, it’s beautifully written and a pleasure to spend two decades follwing Emma and Dex around from the comfort of my armchair. Loved it.
Robyn’s rating: 9/10
Posted: September 2010