For a while last year it seemed like everyone was reading David Nicholls’ One Day, the wonderful tale of two star-crossed university lovers who we happen across every year, on the same day, for 20 years. I must admit I came to it late – one of the perks/hazards of writing about and reviewing books is that you rarely read something that wasn’t sent in the post for you to form an opinion about. But it is a fantastic book, worthy of all the praise – and not worthy of a puny 107 minute film adaptation.
One Day, the film, did not meet most people’s expectations. It wasn’t just that Anne Hathaway’s accent wasn’t Yorkshire enough – it was also lacking what made the book so interesting. In fact, One Day isn’t really a romantic comedy – although it is in parts romantic (but cynically so) and comic. It’s more of a comment on nostalgia, the passing of time, on how we change but stay the same.
So it was interesting to talk to Nicholls about the film adaptation just ahead of his appearance at the Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature in Dubai next month. He would never say it was a failure, not least because he adapted it for the screen. But there was the sense that he regretted how much it was cut – he told me the original script was over two hours long. In the event, we only see eight of the 20 years that feature in the book.
Still, the book is always there. And if there is anyone left who hasn’t given in to its charms yet, I genuinely suggest you cast aside your cynicism for once and just enjoy a fabulously told story.