It took me about four years after "One Day" was published to actually get around to reading it despite the hype ... and that might have been because I wanted to watch the film (pretty much a crime, I know!). I've been similarly slow with this book by David Nicholls, but not quite to the same extent! Despite the raving reviews that I've seen scattered over the interwebs, I was actually a little disappointed. Reading is a chance to escape things, and this book pretty much felt like I was being endlessly slapped around the face with a chipping away of hope over and over again. Now, I can't speak for anyone else, but I usually want to like my protagonists, but let's face it, Douglas is a bit of a dick. I have to say though, this kind of worked in the book's favour - I think we need to be reminded sometimes that we all have a bit of an asshole inside of us that always seems to come out at the worst of times. We all make mistakes, and unlike what the majority of novels suggest, a multitude of "sorrys" and a romantic gesture can't always fix something that's broken.
Douglas Petersen is woken in the middle of the night by his wife of almost twenty years, Connie, stating that she wants a divorce. Not only is Douglas unaware of anything being wrong with their relationship (whoops), the timing is unfortunate as they're about to take their 17-year-old son Albie on a Grand Tour of Europe - something which Connie doesn't want to put off despite their marital dilemma. Douglas is left to consider exactly what he's done wrong, or rather not done right, in the twenty years they've been together, and as they move across Europe he realises that he's perhaps not been the most perfect husband and father. Despite this slow epiphany (oxymoron much, sorry!), he aggressively publicly denounces Albie as an embarrasment, causing Albie to run away across Europe alone. Now Douglas is left with a slightly larger conundrum: how does he get both his wife and son back?!
Author: David Nicholls
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton